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Putin To Visit China In First Trip Abroad Since Announcing Candidacy

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin plans to travel to China next week to cement long-standing ties with the world's top energy consumer.

The visit is to be Putin's first trip abroad since he announced last month that he will run in Russia's next presidential election.

Accompanied by a 160-member delegation including top tycoons, Putin is to visit Beijing on October 11-12 for energy and political talks with Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and President Hu Jintao.

Plans to pump Russian natural gas to China during the next three decades are expected to top the agenda.

A spokesman for Putin said the leaders will oversee the signing of a series of agreements.

compiled from agency reports

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