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    MR. LAVROV TO MEET CHINA'S DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER

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    MOSCOW, March 17, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will have a working meeting with China's First Deputy Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo, who arrived in the Russian capital yesterday, the Russian foreign ministry reported Wednesday.

    Dai Bingguo will be the first foreign diplomat to meet Sergei Lavrov as the foreign minister, for negotiations in Moscow.

    The two diplomats are expected "to discuss bilateral Russo-Chinese relations, topical international and regional problems, including the upcoming referendum in Taiwan." At his first press conference for Russian and foreign reporters, Sergei Lavrov noted that the Russo-Chinese relations "are on the rise." "Russia and China have common positions on the overwhelming majority of international problems," he said adding that China's position is becoming "specified and full of enthusiasm." Mr. Lavrov stressed that China is becoming "an active player in international affairs." "It is very important for Russia that China is trying to solve international issues together with other countries. This is a token of stable international relations," the Russian minister said in an answer to a question about the Russo-Chinese relations.

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