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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yeltsin, Jiang Herald 'New Age' With Accord

BEIJING -- President Boris Yeltsin and his Chinese counterpart Jiang Zemin signed a joint communiqu? in Beijing on Thursday and sealed their pledge to a strategic 21st-century partnership with a champagne toast.

"I can't name a single question on which we would have different opinions," Yeltsin told Jiang in a morning meeting in Beijing's cavernous, Stalinist-style Great Hall of the People.

The two cemented their blossoming ties by signing a joint communiqu? , setting up a secret telephone hot line linking their two capitals and inking 13 other agreements, but stopped short of forging a new alliance.

"The People's Republic of China and the Russian Federation hereby announce their resolve to develop a strategic partnership of equality, mutual confidence and mutual coordination towards the 21st century," the communiqu? said.

Yeltsin and Jiang raised champagne glasses to toast the accord that diplomats said marked the highest point in ties since the Sino-Soviet communist alliance broke down amid ideological differences and border clashes in the early 1960s.

"We want relations between Russia and China to mature so that they can withstand any twists and turns," Yeltsin told reporters after the signing ceremony and a 45-minute meeting with Jiang on the second day of his three-day visit to China.

Jiang echoed Yeltsin's optimism. "Sino-Russian friendly relations have entered into a new age," he told reporters.

But while pledging to cooperate in a new world order, joining forces against NATO expansion east toward Russia and attacking hegemonism -- a veiled criticism of the United States -- they shied away from creating a new axis.

"The development of this relationship represents no expedient step," Xinhua news agency quoted Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov as telling his Chinese counterpart Qian Qichen. "This point is very important." They agreed the furthering of a Sino-Russian constructive partnership was of strategic significance, but "does not mean that the two countries will form an alliance," Xinhua said.

Diplomats said the clink of champagne glasses would not herald a new Sino-Russian axis because the two harbored deep mutual suspicions after a quarter-century freeze in ties that ended only in the mid-1980s.

Yeltsin said he had won from Jiang a pledge to throw China's weight behind a call for a nuclear test ban treaty. "We agreed here that China will join a decision at the eight party summit on nuclear safety in Moscow to hold talks and reach an agreement on a complete end to nuclear tests this year," he told reporters.

But Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Shen Guofang quickly backed away from that commitment.

"With regard to details of the talks, I think there is a need to have further study and discussion," Shen told reporters.

Talks between the two also focused on security issues.

China was negotiating with Russia to cut troops along both sides of their 4,300-kilometer border and hoped to reach an accord as soon as possible, Xinhua quoted Jiang as saying.

"China is not posing, and will not pose in the future, any threat to Russia," Jiang told Yeltsin.

In their joint communiqu?, China and Russia said they wanted to develop friendly exchanges between their military forces and strengthen cooperation on military technology.

Russia has boosted arms sales to China, but diplomats said the sales push was motivated by profit.

Military sales were not among the agreements, which included an agreement on protection of intellectual property rights, cooperation on peaceful space exploration, promotion of peaceful use of nuclear energy and a partnership to battle the growing illegal trafficking of drugs along their border.