CHINA EAGER TO INVEST IN RUSSIA'S FAR EASTERN, EAST SIBERIAN GAS DRILLING: FRADKOV

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MOSCOW, September 24 (RIA Novosti) - China is willing to invest sizeable sums in gas extraction projects based in the Russian Far East and East Siberia, said Mikhail Fradkov, Russia's Prime Minister, while summing up the ninth of regular bilateral prime-ministerial conferences.

"We made an understanding to start drafting an intergovernmental agreement on gas partnership. China's interest in it is evident, and we shall take its desire to invest into due account as we blueprint a comprehensive programme for Far Eastern and East Siberian economic progress.

"We aim to diversify economic our contacts and boost the trade turnover within a few years."

Mr. Fradkov described today's talks as "very fruitful". "In fact, we were today preparing summitry to gather in Beijing, mid-October," he added.

This year's total Russian-Chinese trade turnover is expected to hit a $20 billion mark. It is to make $60 billion or even more by 2010, says a joint statement signed today.

The Chinese and Russian governments confirmed their determination to go on working for a petroleum mainline, to be eventually laid from Russia to China, Victor Khristenko, Russia's Industry and Energy Minister, said to the media. Blueprints for a Taishet-Nakhodka line are undergoing expertise. If it approves, the Russian government may confirm the project-in particular, its geography, throughput, and construction stages. That will allow to get to a practical footing talks on prospects for a Chinese-bound branch.

China is interested in closer partnership with Russia on space efforts, nuclear power industry, developing new materials, bio-engineering, and certain other R&D fields, Wen Xiabao, China's State Council Premier, said to a news briefing, in his turn.

Ever closer research and technological contacts are China's principal objective as Russia encourages China for breakthroughs. China has lately made considerable progress, too, said Mr. Wen. Today's talks brought an understanding for Chinese researchers and technical experts to study and train in Russia, he added.

Mr. Wen highlighted his negotiations today with Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov. They were great success, he said.

The Parties came to share opinions on all items on their agenda, and reached mutual understanding on further all-round progress of Sino-Russian partnership, the Premier concluded.

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