In 2003 goods turnover between Russia and China can reach 13 billion dollars, a source in the Russian government forecast to RIA Novosti in connection with the visit of Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Mikhail Kasyanov to China which is beginning today.
According to the government's data, goods turnover between the two countries over seven months of this year surpassed 8 billion dollars. Chinese exports to Russia jumped by 54 per cent, while the Russian deliveries to China increased by 12 per cent. Last year mutual goods turnover amounted to 12 billion dollars.
Cooperation in energy is expected to dominate Mikhail Kasyanov's talks. The largest joint Russian-Chinese project - the construction of the first phase of the Tianwan nuclear power plant on the basis of a Russian credit - is being implemented precisely in this sphere. It is planned to put the first power-generating unit in operation at the end of 2004, and the second unit of the plant - a year after that. The aggregate capacity of the two blocs will stand at 2 million kilowatts. The source in Russia's government did not rule it out that the successful implementation of this project can become a model for building power plants in other regions of China within the programme of development of nuclear power industry which is being drafted now.
The agency's interlocutor cited a gas-centrifugal uranium-enriching plant among the other successful Russian nuclear power projects in China.
An increase of electricity supplies from Russia to China may also be discussed within the energy dialogue. These supplies are now estimated at 175 million kilowatt-hours a year.
By the Russian side's estimates, the two countries' military-technical cooperation has been developing successfully. Five Tu-204/120M aircraft are now being made in Russia on the Chinese side's order. Beijing is also showing interest in the new Russian amphibian planes Be-200.
In the space sphere Russian and Chinese companies have now concluded 23 commercial contracts in 15 directions of cooperation.
Environmental problems, specifically those relating to protection of the Amur border river and to the forest-industry complex, will be another theme of the talks. Over 40 Chinese companies are now engaged in wood felling in the Far East of Russia.
Europe has recognised the need for negotiations with Russia to discuss the security system on the continent. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is going to Macedonia for meetings with colleagues within the OSCE