Sechin Trip Focuses on Energy Ties

BEIJING -- China and Russia on Saturday agreed to strengthen a strategic partnership by expanding their cooperation in projects including oil trade, pipeline constructions, explorations and nuclear power.

"The first round of talks have achieved some positive results," Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishang said Saturday during his meeting with visiting Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Premier Wen Jiabao, who also met with Sechin, is boosting ties with Russia to meet his country's energy needs.

Sechin told a meeting of Russian and Chinese business people Sunday that the two sides had agreed to use the ruble and the yuan in bilateral trade and economic transactions, Interfax reported. The move, he said, would "decrease the dependence of trade operations on the situation on world economic markets."

A Russian source said Saturday that China had reconfirmed its interest in obtaining from Russia a fast-neutron nuclear reactor, Interfax reported. The source said talks were stalled, however, on the price for the reactor.

State-run nuclear-reactor builder Atomstroiexport is still in talks with the China National Nuclear Corporation to sell two more reactors to China, Yury Ivanov, the company's China project manager, said last month.

The negotiations for the reactors have centered on pricing and technical issues, Ivanov said at the time.

Bloomberg, MT