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Putin Praises 'Unprecedented' Russian Ties With China

Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin
Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin says relations between his country and China have reached "an unprecedented level" with "not a single irritating element."

Putin, who is due to be inaugurated on May 7 for his third term as president, made the remarks after talks in Moscow on April 27 with visiting Chinese Deputy Prime Minister Li Keqiang -- the man expected to become Beijing's next premier.

Li said Russia and China would look to overcome some "difficulties," but he did not specify those issues.

Moscow and Beijing are discussing plans to pump Russian natural gas to China during the next three decades.

But a natural-gas delivery contract has so far proved elusive because of price disagreements.

Gazprom chief Aleksei Miller met on April 27 with the chairman of China's state oil producer CNPC, Jiang Jiemin, on the sidelines of Li's visit.

China became Russia's top trading partner in 2010.

Based on reporting by AFP and Interfax