SANYA (CHINA), November 1 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov took part in a session of a Russian-Chinese commission Tuesday to prepare for a meeting between the countries' leaders on November 3-4.
Zhukov and Wu Yi, his Chinese opposite number, signed a protocol saying Russian oil exports to China by rail would grow to at least 15 million metric tons a year starting from 2006, which will almost double the 2005 figure of 8.5 million tons.
The protocol also urges the Russian state-run oil major Rosneft and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) to complete studying the possibility of building an oil pipeline from Siberia to China.
Russia is already implementing the project to build an oil pipeline from Taishet in Eastern Siberia to Skovorodino in the Amur region on the border with China to pump oil to the Asia-Pacific Rim. Russian pipeline monopoly Transneft and CNPC are currently in talks to build a pipeline stretch from Skovorodino to China.
The Chinese vice premier, for his part, said his country was interested in oil and gas exploration and development in Russia. Zhukov welcomed China's involvement in oil projects in Eastern Siberia and the Far East. He did not specify what form China's involvement would take and urged a "comprehensive program" on the matter.
Zhukov said the Russian government had welcomed agreements between Russian natural gas monopoly Gazprom and CNPC to start talks on future Russian gas deliveries to China from a single gas supply system in Siberia.
Zhukov said in 2005 bilateral trade might reach $28 billion, whereas in the first nine months of 2005 it already exceeded the year-on-year figure by 37.1%. He further said a new agreement with China to encourage and ensure the mutual protection of capital investment in 2006 would be signed to replace the old one, which was expiring.
According to the deputy premier, Russia considers timber processing, agriculture and fish processing to be priority industries for Chinese investment and China may want to consider putting money into building big infrastructure facilities like freeways and bridges.
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The main event of the third day of the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was the closing session with President Vladimir Putin. The atmosphere was calm and open, despite the current political tensions and the Russia-West confrontation. The Russian president said that it corresponded to the spirit of the Valdai Club.