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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

China, Russia Stand United on Iraq

Chinese Prime Minister Li Peng met President Boris Yeltsin on Tuesday at the start of two days of talks with Russian leaders on bilateral and international issues, including the Iraqi crisis.

Russia and China are among the most vocal opponents of a military strike against Iraq, and both are calling for a diplomatic solution to the dispute over weapons inspections.

"Both sides have expressed deep concern about the dangerous developments [around Iraq],'' Yeltsin and Li said in a joint statement released after their Kremlin meeting.

"As permanent members of the UN Security Council, Russia and China do not accept the use of force and stand for such political settlement of the crisis which would ensure full implementation by Iraq of the corresponding council resolutions," said the statement, released by Yeltsin's press service.

At their meeting, Yeltsin and Li also discussed trade and economic relations and agreed to boost ties. They were also expected to discuss a summit between Yeltsin and Chinese President Jiang Zemin in Russia this year, but there was no immediate information on the issue.

Later Tuesday, Li held talks with his Russian counterpart, Viktor Chernomyrdin, the third in a regular series of their meetings.

After the talks, the sides signed several economic agreements, including a trade agreement, a document on joint production of hydrofoil ships and an accord on simplifying border-crossing procedures in Russia's Chita region, where cross-border trade is developing.

Another agreement is intended to settle the issue of Russia's debt to China over loans extended to the Soviet Union shortly before its 1991 collapse.

Li also hailed progress in bilateral ties -- with mutual trade exceeding $6 billion last year -- but added that bilateral trade should continue to grow.