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MOSCOW, October 13. /TASS/. Russia and China are expected to sign more than 40 “very important bilateral documents” on Monday after the 19th regular meeting of the two prime ministers in Moscow, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.
“We have a very ambitious agenda. We are to talk in an expanded format and also take part in the signing of a great amount of documents drafted in preparation for the visit,” Medvedev told his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang.
Over the past six years, the Russian-Chinese bilateral trade has grown more than 100% from $40 billion to $90 billion, Medvedev said. “We are very close partners, China is our top foreign trade partner,” Medvedev said. “We have more significant goals,” the Russian prime minister added.
Russia and China currently enjoy a “very high level of relations characterized as strategic partnership,” he stressed.
The Chinese prime minister said the opening talks in Moscow are expected to “give a new boost to the development of the trade and economic relations between the two countries.”
The fact that the meeting between Russian and Chinese prime ministers is being held for the 19th time signals that this mechanism is long-term and stable and has a fundamental role for developing bilateral ties, he said.
A Russian government source said earlier that Russia and China are due to sign a number of intergovernmental agreements on energy cooperation, including one on a $400 billion natural gas deal agreed in May.
Russia has been moving to bolster ties with China amid the current crisis in relations with the West over the Ukrainian conflict. In late May, Moscow and Beijing signed a landmark gas deal for Gazprom to supply natural gas to China through a new pipeline over 30 years, a milestone in relations between the two countries.
Russia and China have started consultations over gas supplies via the western route, Russian Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Yanovsky told the media. “The consultations have been underway since yesterday,” he said, adding that the first results of the discussions would be available by November.
Earlier, China’s Deputy Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping said his country and Russia hoped to achieve progress in talks over the western route by the end of 2014. “Cooperation in the gas industry is a major component of Russian-Chinese cooperation in the energy sphere. The energy agencies of Russia and China have been working tightly on creating the western route,” he said.
Gazprom and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) on May 21 signed a $400 billion contract for gas supplies via the eastern route for 30 years. The eastern route project provides for delivering 38 billion cubic meters of Russian gas to China via the Power of Siberia gas pipeline.
The western route project envisages gas export to China from Western Siberia. Direct supplies to China are due in 2019.
Russian nuclear power corporation Rosatom may take part in the construction of the eighth unit at China’s Tianwan nuclear power plant, Yanovsky told reporters on Monday.
“Russian equipment is now being supplied to the third and fourth units. We expect that the Russian side will take part in the construction of the eighth unit as well,” he said.
Rosatom’s unit Atomstroyexport built the first and second units at the plant in 2007 and received a license for construction of the third and fourth units in 2012.