China, Russia agree on billion-dollar n-deal (Second Lead)

May 24th, 2008 - 12:01 am ICT by admin  

Beijing, May 23 (DPA) Russia and China during a visit by Russia’s new President Dmitry Medvedev to China Friday signed a billion-dollar deal to cooperate in building an uranium enrichment plant. Russia and China agreed on the basic terms of the contracts envisaging the technical assistance in building the fourth line of a gas centrifuge uranium enrichment plant in China and Russia’s low-enriched uranium deliveries to China for the next 10 years, the Itar Tass news agency reported.

The agreement was signed Friday after the talks between Medvedev and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao.

The chief of the Russian state nuclear corporation “Rosatom” Sergei Kiriyenko said earlier Friday that “the agreement envisaging the construction of a gas centrifuge uranium enrichment plant in China and Russia’s low-enriched uranium deliveries costs more than one billion dollars.”

“This agreement is of systemic nature, as it envisages the construction of an uranium enrichment plant in China and long-term contracts on Russia’s low-enriched uranium deliveries to China for the next ten years,” Kiriyenko said.

The two leaders signed a joint declaration and other agreements on the first day of Medvedev’s two-day visit, his first outside Moscow’s former Soviet allies in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) since he was sworn in May 7.

Medvedev called for increased cooperation between the two states and said that steps needed to be taken to reduce the trade imbalance, which is currently in China’s favour.

Russia has been urging China to import more Russian machinery and engineering goods instead of concentrating on energy imports.

A meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao scheduled for Saturday was called off because Wen is paying another visit to earthquake-devastated Sichuan province.

Medvedev expressed his condolences to Hu and promised further Russian assistance to help the quake victims, China’s official radio reported.

Before leaving on his trip, Medvedev told Chinese journalists: “I think that we will succeed in discussing all the questions that today worry both China and Russia. I am sure that talks will result in new interesting project and ideas.”

The scheduling of the visit was a bold move in Russia’s resurgent world politics, snubbing its largest trading partner Europe.

Eight years back, his predecessor Vladimir Putin’s first official trip abroad was to Britain, a state that has seen its relations with Moscow deteriorate in recent years.

Russia and China, both members of the UN Security Council, have grown closer in their foreign policy alignment in an effort to balance the influence of the United States and shore up lucrative oil and gas trade.

Medvedev told Chinese reporters that “our foreign policy must be sound and pragmatic, but also friendly and open. We count the People’s Republic of China among our most important foreign partners.”

Medvedev flew from oil-rich Kazakhstan to energy-hungry Beijing on his four-day overseas trip, staking Russia’s claim in managing one of the world’s largest oil reserves in the Caspian Sea.

But Moscow has increasingly been competing with China for influence over trade in resources in Central Asia. A pipeline has been built to carry gas from Kazakhstan to China was a blow to Moscow in long-stalled talks to build a pipeline to ship Russia gas to China now stuck in a pricing dispute.

Medvedev is scheduled to deliver a speech at Beijing University on Saturday afternoon.

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