VLADIVOSTOK - President Vladimir Putin on Friday said Russia and a new bloc with ex-Soviet states were well-positioned to become a bridge between Europe and Asia, as he hosted a Pacific regional summit, while the US officials said the United States and Russia will cut down on paperwork and fees for visas from Sunday as part of efforts to build ties.
Putin expressed hope that the modern infrastructure including two massive bridges built for the summit would help breathe new life into a region on the border with China and North Korea.
Chinese President Hu Jintao - who extolled Russia’s efforts to host the summit as an indication of the country’s “great development potential” - was the first foreign leader to hold bilateral talks with Putin.
The visas move coincides with a visit by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the Russian port city for the APEC summit. Under the agreement, Russia will end the cumbersome requirement of asking US citizens to produce invitation letters for business visas.