Russia expects new Chinese leadership to deepen ties

MOSCOW Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:22am EST

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Thursday the naming of a new leadership in China would lead to stronger relations between the political and economic heavyweight neighbors.

China's ruling Communist Party unveiled a line-up of older and conservative officials on Thursday, led by party chief Xi Jinping, who will be faced with tackling issues including social unrest and corruption in the world's second-largest economy.

The close alignment of Russia and China on major global issues such as the Syrian conflict has scuppered action by Western powers on the U.N. Security Council. The two countries blocked proposed sanctions on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Russia, the biggest energy producer in the world, is also hoping to close a natural gas deal with China, the world's largest energy consumer, which both sides have yet to finalize after years of negotiations.

However, growing Chinese trade influence in Russia's Far East - where street signs are often in both Russian and Chinese - has long been a source of tension. The countries share a 4,000-km (2,500-mile) border.

"We have no doubt the 18th congress ... of the Chinese Communist Party will lead to the deepening of (our) bilateral relationship, a strengthening of friendship and of good neighborly relations between the Russian and Chinese people," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said.

Russian President Vladimir has emphasized the importance of diplomatic, trade and energy relations with China since he returned to the Kremlin for his third term.

(Reporting by Thomas Grove; Editing by Pravin Char)

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