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Chinese President In Moscow For Energy, Trade Talks

Hu (right) with Russian President Putin in Beijing in March 2006 (epa) MOSCOW, March 26, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Chinese President Hu Jintao began a three-day visit to Moscow today aimed at bolstering bilateral economic relations and international cooperation.

The main focus of his visit, during which Hu will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, is likely to be energy.

On his third trip to Moscow since taking office in 2003, the Chinese president's priority will be to discuss ways of boosting oil and natural-gas supplies from Russia to his energy-hungry nation -- the world's fastest growing economy.

Russia, which is already Europe's biggest supplies of oil and gas, is keen to break into new markets in Asia.

"You know, there is a certain degree of interdependence between them because China actually needs Russian resources, while Russia needs not so much Chinese money, but Chinese support," said Viktor Kremenyuk, deputy director of the Moscow-based Institute of the U.S.A. and Canada. "And I think that thus, you know, they are eager to develop their mutual relationship, maybe without taking too many obligations."

Although an energy deal is likely to be the focus of talks between Hu and Vladimir Putin, the two presidents are also expected to discuss global security matters, including Iran's and North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

Hu and Putin are also likely to discuss military issues. China participated in joint military exercises with Russia, its largest arms supplier, for the first time last year. The two leaders have also argued for a "multipolar world" that would diminish the dominate influence of the United States

On the eve of his visit, Hu told Chinese state media that a "strategic cooperative partnership was the shared desire and inevitable choice" of the two countries. He called for a "strengthening of strategic cooperation in international and regional affairs."

The heads of state are expected to sign trade deals worth up to $4 billion, and oversee the opening of China's biggest-ever trade fair in Moscow, in which 200 Chinese companies will showcase their products.

Exporting Kazakhstan's Energy

Exporting Kazakhstan's Energy

Work on a Kazakh pipeline (TASS file photo)

PRESSURE FROM THE KREMLIN? Columbia University political science professor Kimberly Marten told an RFE/RL briefing that Russia seems to be using its control of gas pipelines in the former Soviet Union to pursue its goals in Kazakhstan.


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