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Medvedev Meets Senior Chinese Leaders To Boost Ties

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, after the signing of numerous agreements on September 27
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has met with Chinese senior leaders on the second day of a three-day visit in a bid to begin a new economic relationship.

The two sides signed agreements on cooperation in coal, natural gas, nuclear energy, and renewable energy. Prior to his meetings with the Chinese leaders today, Medvedev and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao attended a ceremony to mark the completion of the Chinese branch of the East Siberian-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) pipeline, which is set to start bringing 300,000 barrels per day across the border on January 1.

The Chinese branch is part of a bigger project that will eventually pipe oil to the Pacific Ocean, a design long seen as an attempt by Russia to counterbalance China with other buyers, such as Japan, as a market for its energy in the east. Russia, which has the world's biggest gas reserves, is keen to diversify its exports away from Europe by building new pipelines and selling gas overseas in the form of liquefied natural gas. Russia now hopes to strike a deal for annual sales of 30 billion cubic meters (bcm) to China from 2015.

Speaking to journalists today, President Medvedev said that he discussed international issues and strategic partnership with the Chinese leaders to help the two sides to easily adapt to changing geopolitical conditions.

"We have very good coordination on all issues on the international agenda, within G-20 and at regional forums like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, discussing a wide variety of different issues which is of great use to both our countries," Medvedev said.

Beijing also contracted Russia's Atomstrojexport to build two more reactors at the Taiwan nuclear power plant, one of a score of facilities being built or expanded in China's rapid expansion into alternative energy.

While Moscow and Beijing have tried to work closely in recent years, the two sides have been pushed apart by their individual desire to dominate regional groupings.

In his remarks to the media today, Chinese President Hu Jintao hinted at overcoming mutual differences for common strategic goals in the vast region bordering the two giants.

"The two sides expressed the intention on deepening strategic actions in international and regional affairs, protecting the balance and stability of international strategy, promoting the complete recovery of global economic crisis, and healthy and stable growth of the world economy," Hu said.

China's Xinhua news agency quoted Hu as saying that Beijing and Moscow are expected to start trading in Chinese yuan against the rouble in both countries. Russia has been pushing for a greater role for the rouble in global financial markets and, eventually, as some form of reserve currency. Beijing is also seeking a greater international role for the still tightly controlled yuan. Officials from the two countries had earlier talked about starting trading in their currencies by the end of 2010.

compiled from agency reports