Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that the ongoing 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Beijing is "unprecedentedly open" and that Russia has "great cooperation plans" with China. [Special coverage]
Speaking at a meeting of a think tank in the Russian city of Sochi, he said: "We are very closely following the CPC congress, which is unprecedentedly open. We see difficulties as well as possibilities."
Putin called China a major driver of the global economy. Although China's GDP growth slowed slightly to 6.8 percent in the third quarter of this year, he believes the ongoing structural reform will lead to sustainable growth.
"We have great cooperation plans with China in the areas of space, high-tech and energy. These are the basis of the future development of Russia-China relations," Putin said.
The Russian president said he and President Xi Jinping call each other friends publicly as "this corresponds to the level of our personal relationship".
"On each issue we are always able to find a consensus and come to an agreement, which turns out to be beneficial to both countries. We are moving forward," Putin said.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said this month that the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership has been operating at a high level and is at its best in history.
President Xi chose Russia as the destination of his first trip abroad as head of state in March 2013.
Over the past five years, Xi and Putin have had more than 20 meetings on various occasions, including four times this year.
Their latest meeting was on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in eastern China's Xiamen in September.
Bilateral trade between China and Russia in the first seven months of this year was $46.82 billion, up by 25.5 percent year-on-year, according to the Foreign Ministry.