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China, Russia to Jointly Monitor Cross-border Rivers
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China and Russia will jointly monitor cross-border rivers to ensure water quality, according to an agreement signed in Beijing yesterday.


The water bodies under joint surveillance include Heilong, Wusuli, Erguna and Suifen rivers and Xingkai Lake.


"The agreement marks a substantive step in environmental protection cooperation between China and Russia," said Zhou Shengxian, head of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA).


A chemical spill last November into Songhua River, the biggest tributary of Heilong River, threatened water security for both Chinese and Russians living downriver.


Zhou and Yuri Trutnev, Russian minister of natural resources, also agreed to work out plans to deal with emergencies.


Trutnev praised the Chinese government for its quick response in handling the pollution in Songhua River and said that Beijing should consider setting up a mechanism to punish enterprises responsible for environmental crises.


"I hope monitoring cross-border rivers is just the beginning for cooperation on environmental protection," Zhou said.


(China Daily February 22, 2006)

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