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Rich Contracts Await Hu's Moscow State Visit
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Chinese and Russian companies are set to finalize over US$4.3 billion worth of contracts during President Hu Jintao's upcoming state visit to Russia, Assistant Foreign Minister Li Hui said yesterday in Beijing.

Hu's trip, to last from March 26 to 28, will seek to achieve a double objective of improving both political trust and the bilateral economic and trade partnership, according to Li.

Trade between the two powers topped a record US$33.4 billion last year, a 14.7 percent year-on-year rise, said Li.

Hu and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will engage in talks covering a broad range of topics, including improving mutual investment and enhancing cooperation across the fields of energy, infrastructure, forestry and high-tech sectors, Li said, specifying that one of state agreements to be signed will relate to the rail transport of crude oil.

Following their summit next Monday, both presidents are set to issue a document, elaborating on bilateral and political ties as well as global issues such as UN reform, anti-terrorism cooperation, the Iran and North Korea nuclear issues, the Middle East and development of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), according to Li.

Li further revealed that SCO members, including China, Russia and some Central Asian nations, will conduct a joint military drill in Russia this year to bolster regional anti-terrorism collaboration. 

Following the success of the "Year of Russia in China" in 2006, with close to 300 activities involving over half a million visitors, Hu and Putin will launch the "Year of China in Russia".

The "Year of China in Russia" will feature some 200 events across a range of themes, including for example a Chinese national exhibition, a cultural festival, a business forum and an investment conference.

Li said that the national exhibition would showcase over 200 Chinese companies covering such sectors ranging from energy and machinery manufacturing, to household electrical appliances, textiles, information technology, agriculture, tourism and services trade.

Russian Ambassador to China Sergei Razov spoke on Tuesday in Beijing about the positive progress being enjoyed in energy collaboration.

Speaking to Xinhua, Ambassador Razov stated that Russia is aiming to pipe 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas to China annually and will build a gas pipeline through the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Russia's plans include pumping gas into China by 2011 through two routes, the first traversing Xinjiang to the west and a second line intersecting China's northeastern border with Russia.

Razov also noted that the ongoing construction of a 2,800-km-long crude oil pipeline is on target, with a quarter having been successfully completed.

(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency March 22, 2007)

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