BEIJING, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping had a video call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin Monday afternoon, as the two heads of state jointly witnessed the launching ceremony of the China-Russia east-route natural gas pipeline.
"East-route natural gas pipeline is a landmark project of China-Russia energy cooperation and a paradigm of deep convergence of both countries' interests and win-win cooperation," Xi told Putin via the video call in Beijing.
He congratulated the launch of the pipeline and expressed appreciation to the construction teams from both countries.
The east-route natural gas pipeline began providing China with Russian natural gas, which is scheduled to reach 5 billion cubic meters in 2020 and increase to 38 billion cubic meters annually from 2024, under a 30-year contract signed between the China National Petroleum Corp and Russian gas giant Gazprom in May 2014.
Speaking highly of the arduous efforts Chinese and Russian builders and companies have made in frozen and snow-covered land in the past five years, Xi said they have shown to the world their consummate skills and the fruitful results of China-Russia cooperation.
Xi and Putin witnessed the signing of the pipeline agreements in 2014 in Shanghai.
The launch of the pipeline is not only an important result at the current stage but also a new start for future cooperation, Xi said.
He called on both countries to make the pipeline a safe and green pipeline of development and friendship, ensure the safe operation of the pipeline and boost the sustainable development of the regions along the line.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Russia. Xi and Putin announced in June in Moscow to lift bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination in the new era.
Stressing that he and Putin agreed to continue putting bilateral ties as a priority of each other's foreign relations and enhancing strategic coordination and cooperation, Xi called on both countries to redouble their efforts to initiate more key projects like the east-route natural gas pipeline, to boost both countries' development and better benefit both peoples.
Putin, who made the video call from the Russian city of Sochi, said it is of great historic significance that the east-route natural gas pipeline was launched on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of Russia-China diplomatic ties.
The launch has lifted bilateral strategic coordination to a new level, said Putin.
Hailing the five-year toil of construction teams from both countries on the project under extreme weather and the completion on schedule, Putin said Russia will provide 1 trillion cubic meters of natural gas to China in the next 30 years.
This is conducive to the realization of a Russia-China trade volume of 200 billion U.S. dollars in 2024, Putin said.
Russia stands ready to work with China to ensure the smooth implementation of the landmark strategic project, he said.
During the video call, China and Russia representatives at northeast China's Heihe station and Russia's Atamanskaya compressor station and Chayandin gas field reported in turn to the two presidents that they were ready to receive or provide natural gas. Xi and Putin then gave the go-ahead to the teams.
Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng attended the ceremony in Beijing.
The cross-border gas pipeline has a 3,000-km section in Russia and a 5,111-km stretch in China.