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    YUKOS PLIGHT HASN'T CUT RUSSIAN OIL EXPORTS TO CHINA: AMBASSADOR

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    MOSCOW, September 16 (RIA Novosti) - Controversial developments round the Yukos petroleum mammoth have not reduced Russian oil exports to China, Liu Gwuqiang, Chinese Ambassador to Russia, said to the media.

    The Yukos plight has no impact on the supplies, he reassured. As the diplomat emphasised, the controversy is entirely a Russian domestic affair, and his country will never interfere in it. He is sure Russia can get exports going despite whatever changes in particular companies.

    Yukos petroleum supplies to China by rail are going on unhampered, 5.5 million tonnes expected for this year. Rail supplies are to increase to 10 million tonnes next year, and to 15 the year after, as a bilateral contract has it.

    Mr. Liu denied allegations carried by certain media outlets on Chinese corporate interest in the Yuganskneftegas, Yukos oil-extracting branch. As things really are, not a single Chinese-based company has said it intended to buy the Yuganskneftegas or bid for a respective tender, he stressed.

    China looks forward to an oil mainline branch to be laid from Russia, and construction starting on a gas mainline from Russia to China and South Korea, added the ambassador.

    Two options were previously under discussion on the mainline route from Siberia to the Asian-Pacific area. The Russian top turned down both. New blueprints have come up now, for a Taishet-Nakhodka route, with a branch to reach China. Mr. Liu is sure the endeavour will be launched all the sooner with upcoming Moscow negotiations of Prime Ministers Mikhail Fradkov of Russia and China's Weng Xiabao.

    China also hopes gas mainline laying will soon start from Russia's Kavykta gasfield to China and South Korea. Feasibility studies are over by now, and the involved countries' governments are considering respective papers, said Mr. Liu.

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