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China's Wen leaves for Russia, Kazakhstan

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Oct 27, 2008
Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao embarked on a five-day tour of Russia and Kazakhstan on Monday which is expected to focus on the global financial crisis and energy security.

Wen will hold talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin as part of the nations' annual prime ministerial meeting, the official Xinhua news agency said as it announced the premier's departure.

In Kazakhstan, Wen will attend the annual leaders' meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a Central Asian grouping that focuses on regional security, foreign ministry officials said earlier.

Wen's trip follows the two-day summit of Asian and European leaders in Beijing that ended on Saturday with a call for better cooperation in fighting the global financial crisis.

Last week, Vice Foreign Minister Li Hui told journalists Wen would discuss the financial crisis with Putin and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev while in Russia from Monday to Thursday.

"Both China and Russia have taken a lot of proactive measures to face the financial crisis," Li said.

The two nations will hold energy discussions in an effort to finalise agreements ranging from nuclear power to oil and gas, according to Li.

He refused to specify the documents to be signed during the visit but said the two sides were still working on a nuclear power plant agreement for the second phase of the Tianwan atomic installation in east China.

Plans have been drawn up for a pipeline spur linking China to Russia's 4,700 kilometre (2,900 miles) trans-Siberian pipeline, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin was quoted by RIA Novosti news agency as saying Sunday.

China has jockeyed with Japan for access to oil from the partially built pipeline, which is designed to link Siberian oil fields to Russia's Pacific coast with a length of over 4,700 kilometres (2,900 miles).

The projected spur to the Chinese border would be relatively short at 67 kilometres and would cement Russian-Chinese energy cooperation after years of hesitation by Moscow, a rival of Beijing during the Cold War.

The SCO meeting to be held in the Kazakh capital of Astana on October 30, grouping leaders from Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, will focus on fighting terrorism and boosting trade, Li said.

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French minister opposes Georgia, Ukraine entry to NATO
Strasbourg (AFP) Oct 22, 2008
France's minister for European affairs on Wednesday said he was opposed to Georgia and Ukraine entering the NATO military alliance for now because it would not benefit Europe.

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