Russia, China Sign Historic Deal

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BEIJING: Russian President Boris Yeltsin wraps up a three-day summit in China by signing an historic agreement to reduce tensions along the border between the two countries. Yeltsin and China's President Jiang Zemin, along with the Presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, have promised that their troops along the 2,600-mile border will not attack or target military exercises at each other. "This is an historic agreement for both sides," Beijing bureau chief Jaime FlorCruz says. "China is trying to build a predictable and peaceful relationship along all of its borders. Beijing wants to assure a peaceful environment so it can focus on economic modernization. For Yeltsin, it is important to have peace in the east while he deals with NATO expansion on his western border." While the border agreement is the most significant of the deals reached by Yeltsin and Jiang during the summit, the two leaders also reached common ground on a number of other issues, including increased communication and cooperation in developing nuclear energy. Increasing the $5.5 billion in trade between the two countries was a top priority for both men. China has already agreed to spend $1 billion to buy 72 Russian jet fighters. "Russia has a lot to offer China in terms of aircraft, military, nuclear and satellite technology," FlorCruz says. "China offers Russia a source of raw material, consumer goods and possible labor."