MOSCOW, May 19 (RIA Novosti) – Russia and China are set to boost their joint technological ties by cooperating on the joint design of a wide-body long-range airliner and the development of a variant of the Mi-26 helicopter for the Chinese military and civil agencies, the Kommersant newspaper reported Monday.
“This project [wide-body, long-range aircraft] is to compete with American and European-manufactured aircraft,” Kommersant said, citing a source.
“China is interested in building at least 1,000 airplanes of this kind. And if everything goes smoothly, then in perspective we will set up a joint venture that could compete with Airbus or Boeing, for example. We are ready to purchase these planes to meet our own demands,” the source told Kommersant.
“We offered them [China] to buy our Mi-26 helicopters, but our partners were not satisfied with this variant. We listened to their preferences concerning the design of a helicopter with a cargo capacity of up to 15 tons. That is why we suggested modernizing our Mi-26 helicopters,” the source added.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to arrive in China on an official visit on Tuesday to propel the bilateral cooperation between the two countries to a new stage of comprehensive and strategic partnership.
In an interview with leading Chinese media companies ahead of his upcoming visit, Putin hailed the progress in Russian-Chinese cooperation saying it had reached an unprecedented historical level.
“Establishing closer ties with the People’s Republic of China – our trusted friend – is Russia’s unconditional foreign policy priority. Now Russia-China cooperation is advancing to a new stage of comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction. It would not be wrong to say that it has reached the highest level in all its centuries-long history," the Russian president said Monday.
A number of agreements – including investment in tourism, logistics, infrastructure and natural resource extraction – are expected to be signed during the visit.