Russia pledges to honour pipeline pact
( 2003-09-25 00:02) (China Daily)
Visiting Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov Wednesday said his government would honour its commitment to the Russia-China oil-pipeline project, adding that the specific route is still under discussion.
"I have reiterated some of the Russian side's commitments to meeting China's need for petroleum and natural gas for its economic development and we will live up to those commitments," Kasyanov said at a joint press conference with his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao after their talks.
The planned 2,400 kilometres-long Russia-China oil pipeline is to extend from Russia's Angarsk to Daqing in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.
China National Petroleum Corp and Russia's private oil producer YUKOS signed an agreement on the US$2.5 billion project during President Hu Jintao's state visit to Russia in May.
However, prospects for the project were cast in doubt after Japan tried to persuade Russia to choose its proposed route which would bypass China and stretch to Russia's Far East port of Nakhodka.
The Russian Ministry of Natural Resources indicated earlier this month that it might block the planned routes for the Angarsk-Daqing pipeline due to environmental problems.
But Kasyanov reiterated that construction of the pipeline is the most reasonable way for Russia to supply crude oil to China. Russia will decide the specific route "in the near future," he said.
Wen told the press that co-operation in energy is the most important component part of Sino-Russian economic ties.
He said the current scheme is realistic and practical and serves the interests of both countries.
After their talks, Wen and Kasyanov signed a joint communique on the eighth regular meeting between Chinese and Russian prime ministers.
They set as their main target a major increase in trade between the two countries, according to the communique.
Bilateral trade volume hit US$12 billion last year and is expected to reach US$14 billion this year.
Both countries agreed to strengthen co-operation to boost that figure to US$20 billion as early as possible, Wen said.
They would give special attention to developing China's vast western hinterland and Russia's Far East area.
The two countries have also agreed to work together more on investment, especially in the energy field.
In the joint communique, the two sides expressed firm support for each other's efforts in safeguarding national unification, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Russia reiterated its principled position on the questions of Taiwan and Tibet.
The two countries also committed themselves to a stronger partnership when dealing with international affairs.
Peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula should be maintained and the nuclear issue in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea should be resolved through peaceful dialogue, they said.
Both believe the United Nations should expand its role in solving the problem of Iraq.
The international community must actively participate for Iraq to return to normal soon.
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