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Russia-China arms trade to continue
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Russia will not sell aircraft carriers to China because it has stopped producing them, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alexeyev told Chinese netizens in an online dialogue this week.


"Now China has its own advanced weapons manufacturing technology there's no need to buy outdated military equipment," said Alexeyev.


But he added that Russia will continue selling up-to-date arms to China.


"It is unfortunate that various threats in the world against us (Russia and China) have not decreased," said the deputy foreign minister, indicating that maintaining a high-level defense capability is in line with the common interests of the two countries.


The arms deals between Russia and China "will not become a threat to any third country, and will not endanger the stability and security of the Asia-Pacific region and the world as a whole," he added.


In regard to recent actions taken by the Russian government on foreigners working and running retail businesses in Russia, Alexeyev said they were not targeted at Chinese citizens, but aimed at combating illegal immigration.


The Kremlin began a ban on immigrant vendors in markets on April 1, forcing foreign traders to pack up their stalls and dozens of kiosks are now empty. But it does not apply to Moscow.


Immigrant vendors are only allowed to work as porters, cleaners and wholesalers. They are not permitted to directly sell goods to local customers. The ban has raised concerns that it was aimed at Chinese traders.


"The anti-China tendency in Russia contradicts the policy of our government," said Alexeyev.


Another Russian guest engaged in the online dialogue, Nikolay Dudov, governor of Magadan Oblast, said the so-called expansion of Chinese citizens in Russia is not really taking place. "The issue has been exaggerated by sensationalist media," he said.


The online dialogue, called "Dialogue with Russia," is part of a series of online interactive activities between Chinese netizens and other countries and regions sponsored by China Daily.


This summer, 10 questions were picked from a pool of posts posted by about 150,000 netizens on the China Daily website and were transferred to several Russian politicians and experts.


"We intend to build up a high-level network platform for Chinese netizens to learn about Russia through this dialogue, as well as providing a new channel for mutual understanding between the two countries," said Zhou Xiaopeng, director of the website's Global Online Channel.


(China Daily October 12, 2007)

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