China hopes to seal the natural gas deal during Putin’s visit

China hopes to advance the negotiations with Russia for the sale of Russian natural gas and seal the agreement between the two countries during the visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Beijing next week.

Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Cheng Guoping, said that both sides are working to reach a final agreement on the subject, which was scheduled on the agenda of Putin, who will pay his first visit to China since he took office this month after refusing to attend the recent G8 summit in the U.S..

“I think there will be progress in talks on the sale of Russian natural gas, with both parties sharing the risks and benefits,” said Mr.Cheng, who declined to comment on the content of the negotiations or confirm whether the agreement will be signed next week, coinciding with Putin’s stay in Beijing.

Before Putin’s visit, the conclusion of the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is scheduled from Tuesday to Thursday of next week, Chinese Vice Premier in charge of commercial affairs, Wang Qishan will meet with his Russian counterpart in Beijing on Friday.

Negotiations between China and Russia on the purchase of energy resources extend from three years ago, both sides disagree over the price of the 68,000 million cubic meters natural gas, the Russian state company Gazprom wants to sell the gas at the usual price to European countries, while China’s CNPC demands preferential treatment.

During his visit, Putin will meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao, who is expected to deepen trade and security ties.

The conclusion of this issue of the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), founded in 2001 by China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to cooperate on security, expects its six member states adopted their first strategic plan and decide to take Afghanistan as the “observer” country and Turkey as a “dialogue partner”.

Vice Minister Cheng said that the SCO will also seek to develop new links in transport, such as construction of an overland route to St. Petersburg from Lianyungyang in the central province of Jiangsu and the establishment of a development bank.

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