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China And Russia Sign Missile Notification Pact

BEIJING (Reuters) -- China and Russia signed a pact to notify each other of ballistic missile launch plans during Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's visit this week to Beijing, Chinese media said on October 14.

The accord, although overshadowed by promises of $3.5 billion in deals and oil and gas supply accords, is a small step towards establishing further trust between the two former Communist allies, who have been in a wary detente since falling out in the late 1950s.

"It shows the special relationship with the two countries, as the launches of ballistic missiles are core state secrets rarely disclosed to other countries," Li Daguang, a military expert at China's National Defense University, was quoted as saying by the Global Times' English edition.

The U.S. and Russia agreed in 1971, during the Cold War, to notify each other of ballistic missile launches extending beyond their territories, and expanded on that in 2000. Chinese media said on October 13 that the Sino-Russian accord differed from the U.S.-Russian "offensive agreement," but did not elaborate.