Beijing, July 17 2000 (RFE/RL) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Beijing, starting his three-country Asian
tour. Putin will attend an official welcoming ceremony tomorrow before beginning talks with
China's President Jiang Zemin. The two leaders are expected to focus on disarmament issues and
expanding bilateral trade.
Both countries oppose plans by the United States to create and deploy a national missile
defense system. Jiang and Putin are expected to sign a document supporting the 1972
Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and rejecting any changes to it. The U.S. says it needs the system to
counter threats from so-called rogue nations which may acquire nuclear and missile technology
sufficient to menace the U.S. or its allies.
Putin and Jiang are also expected to discuss ways to boost bilateral trade which totaled a
mere 5,700 million dollars last year. Jiang and first Russian President Boris Yeltsin agreed in
1997 to increase bilateral trade to 20,000 million dollars by this year.
Putin departs China Wednesday for North Korea. He will be in Japan on Friday to attend the
summit of industrialized nations in Okinawa.