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Russian PM pledges to keep promise on oil pipeline plan
( 2003-09-24 19:41) (Xinhua)

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said Wednesday in Beijing that the Russian government would honor its commitments and abide by the agreement reached on the construction of the oil transmission pipeline between Russia and China.

Kasyanov said at a joint press briefing after formal talks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao that the cooperation in oil and natural gas was a priority in economic cooperation, and the two sides exchanged views fully during his visit.

He reiterated the commitments Russia made in meeting China's needs of oil and natural gas during the talks, and the Russian side "will live up to the commitments".

The cooperation in oil and natural gas area was being implemented vigorously, said the Russian prime minister.

Russia and China reached consensus in 2001 to build an oil transmission pipeline from Angarsk, near Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia, to Daqing in northeast China. Technical assessments have been completed.

However, some Russian oil companies put forward a new plan late last year to pump oil from Angarsk to the Russian Pacific port of Nahodka. The Russian government decided last March in principle to adopt a compromise plan, comprising a main pipeline from Angarsk to Nahodka and a branch pipeline to Daqing.

Upon completion, the pipeline will be able to annually transmit 50 million tons of crude oil to Japan and the Republic of Korea, and another 30 million tons to Daqing by 2010.

Kasyanov said the Russian side was still studying the details of the project, including the specific route and plan, and would make a decision soon.

The original two plans "did not give enough consideration" to the protection of the environment near Lake Baikal, he said, and so the plan had to be revised, which would take three to four months.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said there was more common ground than disagreement.

"We both agree that cooperation in the oil area is the most important part of economic cooperation, that pipeline transmission is the best way to transmit oil, and that the two sides should keep their agreements and commitments," Wen said.

Wen said the project had a good foundation after about 10 years of study and deliberation.

"The plan is practical and viable and serves the fundamental interests of our two sides," Wen said. "We believe that so long as the two sides take the broad situation into consideration, in a spirit of mutual respect, equality and benefit, and communicate closely, the problems will be resolved."

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