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    RUSSIAN, CHINESE HIGH-PLACED OFFICIALS DISCUSS BILATERAL RELATIONS

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    MOSCOW, March 17 (RIA Novosti) - Secretary of Russia's Security Council Igor Ivanov and special representative of the Chinese government, first deputy head of the PRC Foreign Ministry Dai Binguo discussed the development of bilateral relations at their meeting in Moscow, a spokesman for the press service of the Russian Security Council said on Wednesday.

    Also in the focus of the meeting were the forthcoming top- and high-level contacts between Russia and the People's Republic of China (PRC) aimed at further promoting the strategic partnership relations between the two states, the press service spokesman added.

    The Chinese government's envoy told Igor Ivanov how the PRC leadership assessed the situation around Taiwan in connection with the holding of the so-called referendum on the island slated for March 20.

    Igor Ivanov said that the PRC could rely on the full support by Russia of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China.

    The position of principle taken by Russia on this issue was fixed firmly in the Agreement on Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation between the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China signed on July 16, 2001, he pointed out.

    According to Igor Ivanov, Russia is coming out firmly against Taiwan's independence in any form and proceeds from the premise that the Taiwanese problem should be settled without detriment to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

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