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Beijing, Moscow sign nuclear energy pacts
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China and Russia yesterday signed four agreements on nuclear energy collaboration, looking ahead to a post-hydrocarbon world.

A joint communiqu signed by visiting Premier Wen Jiabao and his Russian counterpart Viktor Zubkov said increased cooperation on nuclear energy is a priority in economic ties.

According to the deals, the two countries will continue to work on the second phase of the Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant in Jiangsu and uranium enrichment factories, and take measures for peaceful use of nuclear energy.

The two countries also signed deals in the finance, science and technology, and trade sectors.

During the 12th regular meeting between the two prime ministers, they agreed to complete the construction of a Sino-Russian oil pipeline by the end of next year and speed up negotiations on a long-term oil supply deal.

The two sides reiterated that the energy cooperation is a key component of the Sino-Russian strategic partnership and said they would push forward collaboration in the oil, gas and electricity sectors.

Russian media quoted First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as saying that gas deliveries to China would begin "in the next few years" once agreements on the pricing and delivery routes are finalized.

Reviewing the decade-old Sino-Russian strategic partnership, Wen said bilateral ties have reached an unprecedented level.

He said the two countries will jointly explore the potential in various fields and improve the trade structure to raise the proportion of machinery and high-tech products.

They will expand investment and enhance cooperation in border areas as well as in the fields of space flight, civil aviation, information industry and banking.

Describing the talks as frank, substantive and friendly, Zubkov said the bilateral strategic cooperation has been significantly strengthened in recent years through frequent high-level exchanges.

Official figures show that two-way trade is expected to top US$40 billion by the end of the year. Zubkov said he believes the figure would jump to US$80 billion in three years, a goal set by the top leaders of the two countries.

During his two-day official visit, Wen also attended the closing ceremony of the "Year of China" in Russia, an event aimed at boosting trade and cultural interaction.

Wen and Zubkov also took part in the opening ceremony of a Sino-Russian business forum yesterday before the premier flew back to Beijing late last night.

(China Daily November 7, 2007)

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