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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

In China, Medvedev Seals Deals and Praises Weightlifting

APMedvedev, with Chinese Premier Li Kequang in Beijing, said Chinas anti-corruption policies had hit home.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedevon Tuesdaycalled for greater direct investment between Russia and China, on a visit to Beijing that resulted mostly in trade and banking deals.

An increase in direct investment would take economic ties up a notch from their current heavy reliance on Chinese lendingfacilitiesand bilateral exchange of goods.

Medvedev also commended some of China's severe anti-corruption measures, spoke of his past life as a weight lifter and presented a collection of his own photographs to a Chinese man who asked him a particularly interesting question.

“We have to pay attention to investment because things are not so good in that area,” Medvedev said in a joint news conference with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. “We expressed the wish to strengthen investment cooperation,andprimarily direct investment into the economies of both countries.”

The leaders spoke afterattendingsigning ceremonies for a raft of deals earlier Tuesday.

In what appeared to bean agreement of the sorttouted by Medvedev, Metals of Eastern Siberia Corporation, part of the Moscow-basedmulti-profileMetropol Group, signed a contract with China Nonferrous Metal Industry's Foreign Engineering and Construction Company.Under the terms of the agreement,the Chinese companywilldesign and build an ore processing plant in Buryatia,to theeast of Lake Baikal, at an estimated cost of up to $1.5 billion.The Chinese companywill own 50 percent of the facility, according to a preliminary deal signedearlier this year.

Also Tuesday,Russia's development bank, VEB, agreed to borrow $1.9 billion from two Chinese lenders.

Under one of the deals, VEB will borrow $800 million from China Development Bank to fund a project to build office and retail space at the site of Moscow's formerSlava wristwatch factory near Belorussky Station.

Under another deal,VEB will take out a $400 million loan from the same Chinese bank tofinance the construction ofa powerplantin Kazakhstan.

Inathird agreement, VEB secured a$700 millionline of creditfrom the Export-Import Bank of China for purposes that the partiesdid notdisclose.

In a separate deal, billionaire Oleg Deripaska, president of EN+, signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Cao Peixi, president ofstate-owned power generation company China Huaneng Group.

Rosneft also agreed to supply oil to the refinery that it wants to build in China with China National Petroleum Corporation, or CNPC.Private natural gas firmNovatek signed a deal definingthe basic termsunder whichCNPCwillbuy natural gas from theplanned Yamal LNG plantin the Arctic.

Asidefrom the business agenda, Medvedev held an online question-and-answer session with an audiencedefinedbyRussian newsagenciesas "Chinese Internet users."

He said Russian officials closely watched China's anti-corruption efforts, which involve death sentences to wrongdoers. But some of the harsh measures were not acceptable in Russia, headded.

"You have experience, which is based on Chinese traditions and is interesting," Medevedev saidin response to one question,Interfax reported. "I have to confess that a number of measures thatyouemploy arevery harsh and unacceptableunder our legislation. But I think that these kind of measures bear fruit and hit home."

While sweeping aside the option ofexecutions for corruption-related offenses, Medvedev lamented the poor record ofcombating thephenomenonin Russia.

"Of course, I cannot say that wehaveturned the situation around and are now OK," he said. "We will need an enormous amount of effort in the future to rectify this situation."

Answering another question, Medvedev said boththeRussian and Chinese governments would seek to further streamline visa rules to ease tourist exchanges.

Medvedev alsoleakedsome personal information. When asked about his hobbies, Medvedev said he liked sports, books and taking pictures. He added that he often takes snapshots through the window of his government car or other vehicles during work-related trips because of his busy schedule.

About sports, he said he used to do weight lifting for a short while and, for a longer period, hewas involved inrowing, a sport that he still tries to follow.

"As of now, I do neither of those," he said.

His current athletic activities are swimming andcycling, which he tries to do every day, he said.

Wrapping up the conference, Medvedev, at the urge of the host, chose the question he liked most. That was a question about ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu and Chinese culture. The exact question and Medvedev's full answer were not reported immediatelyTuesday. Medvedev did recall, however, that both he and his Chinese counterpart had quoted Lao Tzu's maxim advising more meaningful conversations during the talks earlier.

Medvedev gave a book of his photographs to the Chinese man whoput the question to thank himfor asking it.

"I hope he will take a look, and, maybe, like something," Medvedev said.

Contact the author at medetsky@imedia.ru