Russian President Vladimir Putin (Photo: AFP/VNA)
Sochi (VNA) – Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted a ceremony on May 19 to receive ASEAN leaders participating in the ASEAN-Russia summit in Sochi.

At the reception, he affirmed that both sides share common ground on various issues.

He said it is the first time the summit has been held in Russia, with the Sochi Declaration expected to be adopted on May 20.

The declaration shows the intention to elevate the partnership to a new strategic level, realising its full potential in trade, politics, culture and security, Putin stated.

The same day, Putin held bilateral talks with many ASEAN leaders.

In his meeting with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, both sides underscored the preparation for the signing of a free trade pact between Singapore and the Eurasian Economic Union.

They noted scientific research was a highlight in their cooperation.

Russia has so far invested 2.5 billion USD in Singapore, while the Asian country has channeled 1 billion USD into Russia.

The meeting between Putin and his Myanmar counterpart U Htin Kyaw resulted in both sides devising a cooperation road map for 2017, with a focus on diversifying trade ties. Myanmar said it wants to welcome more Russian tourists.

The Sultan of Brunei Haji Hassanal Bolkiah told Putin his country wants to buy Russia’s Sukhoi Superjet aircraft and boost bilateral ties in the energy sector. Lukoil, the largest oil company in Russia, recently started purchasing crude oil in Brunei.

Talks between Putin and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak focused on tourism, trade and military cooperation. They agreed to set up direct flights connecting the two countries and consider a free trade agreement to improve bilateral trade and tourism.

The Russian President also met with leaders from Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia.-VNA