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China, Russia Agree on Borders, WTO Entry

China and Russia completed the delimitation of their 4,300-kilometre-long borders Thursday, further consolidating their strategic partnership of cooperation.


Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov Thursday signed the supplementary agreement on the eastern section of the boundary between China and Russia following talks between President Hu Jintao and visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Together with the 1991 agreement on the eastern section of the border between China and the former Soviet Union and the 1994 agreement on the western section of the border between China and Russia, the newly signed agreement marked the clearance of dispute over the 4,300 kilometer border between the two countries.


Hu and Putin signed a Sino-Russian Joint Statement following their talks.


The statement dictates the newly signed agreement on border issues is a "balanced and reasonable" and "political win-win" solution, and should be "valued and fully affirmed."


Negotiations between China and Russia on boundary lines lasted more than 40 years. The settlement of the Sino-Russian border issue will offer a reliable guarantee for the long-term friendship and good-neighborly cooperation between the peoples of the two countries, says the joint statement.



"The border will hence become a symbol of peace, friendship, cooperation and development between the two peoples," said Hu who witnessed the signing of the agreement with Putin.


"The decision will not only benefit the relationship between the two countries but benefit the livelihood of the people living in border areas," said Putin.


During their talks, Putin reaffirmed his one-China policy and opposition to Taiwan's independence.


Putin said Russia will firmly adhere to the one-China policy and oppose "Taiwan independence" of any form. Russia will not support Taiwan to join the United Nations or any other international organizations open only to sovereign countries and will not sell weapons to Taiwan, he added.


Hu said the two countries should insist on mutual respect, equal treatment and mutual support and constantly enhance mutual political trust, respecting each other's stance on domestic and foreign policies concerning state sovereignty and territorial integrity.


"The question of Taiwan reflects China's core and supreme interests," said Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing at a press conference he held with his Russian counterpart after Hu and Putin's talks.


"Russia has always been our steadfast supporter on the question of Taiwan, indicating the strategic partnership of cooperation between our two countries," Li said.


Hu and Putin Thursday pledged to bring bilateral relations to a new height across the board.


The joint statement says the 2001 Sino-Russian Good-Neighborly Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation is a milestone document guiding the development of bilateral relations.


The two sides agreed to follow the principles and spirit of the treaty and constantly enrich their strategic partnership of cooperation to benefit the two peoples.


Hu and Putin also approved the compendium on the implementation of the treaty between 2005 and 2008.


"We will take concrete measures to enforce the implementation, so the two countries are good neighbors, good friends and good partners forever," Hu told the press.


The two leaders also witnessed the signing of a batch of documents on bilateral cooperation Thursday.


Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai and Russian Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref signed an agreement Thursday on Russia's market access to the World Trade Organization (WTO) between China and Russia.


Premier Wen Jiabao and Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov announced the conclusion of the two country's negotiations, making China one of the earliest WTO members to finish such negotiations on Russia's WTO accession.


Hu and Putin agreed to expand economic and trade cooperation, with the promotion of large projects in energy, high technology and local cooperation in particular.


Putin said Russia would work with China to enhance economic and trade cooperation both in quantity and quality.


He reiterated that Russia has never changed its decision to cooperate with China in the energy field.


Current Sino-Russian trade is surging at an over 20 percent annual rate and well anticipated to reach US$20 billion this year.


Premier Wen Jiabao and his Russian counterpart Mikhail Fradkov agreed the two countries will work together to push bilateral trade to more than US$60 billion in 2010 during his visit to Russia last month.


The joint statement says the two sides will strengthen their technological cooperation in priority areas such as spaceflight, nuclear energy, power, new materials, chemical industry, biology, communication and information technology.


To further promote the strategic partnership of cooperation between the two countries, Hu said they should insist on co-ordination and mutual trust and deepen their cooperation to create a favorable international environment together.


Nation, Russia support role of UN


They agreed to enhance communication and co-ordination on major international and regional issues, adhere to the multilateralism, and support the United Nations to play an important role in international affairs to push for the establishment of a just and reasonable new order of international politics and economy.


The two leaders also agreed to enhance humanistic exchanges to deepen the traditional friendship between the two peoples.


They met youth representatives from the two countries yesterday after their talks and the signing ceremony.


This year is "Friendship Year for Youth from China and Russia."


They reached the consensus to set the year 2006 as the Year of Russia in China and 2007 as the Year of China in Russia.


Putin will also visit Xi'an, capital of Northwest China's Shaanxi Province.


(China Daily October 15, 2004)


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