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Jiang in Moscow for summit with Yeltsin

Joint declaration expected

April 22, 1997
Web posted at: 12:12 p.m. EDT (1612 GMT)

MOSCOW (CNN) -- Chinese President Jiang Zemin arrived in Moscow Tuesday on a five-day state visit designed to build ties between the two neighbors, partly as a counterweight to NATO's expansion plans.

U.S. criticism of China's human rights record and trade practices has also pushed Beijing to develop closer ties with Moscow.

Jiang, accompanied by his wife, Wang Yeping, and senior Chinese officials, was welcomed at the Moscow airport by Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin.

The Chinese leader then went by motorcade to the Kremlin, where he is to meet with Russian President Boris Yeltsin on Wednesday to sign a joint political declaration outlining a vision of the future world order.


In a written statement at the airport, Jiang said, China and Russia are linked by a "traditional friendship" and "The establishment of a new type of bilateral relationship... not only serves the fundamental interests of our two peoples but also contributes to peace, stability and development in the Asian-Pacific region and in the world at large."

China's ambassador to Moscow, Li Fenglin was quoted by the Interfax news agency as explaining what the new ties would involve.

"This new type of relationship includes a refusal to take part in military blocs, ruling out confrontation and any menace to third parties," he said.

On Monday, Yeltsin's spokesman, Sergei Yastrzhembsky, underlined the importance of the joint political declaration -- which will be the first such document signed since Moscow and Beijing started repairing ties in the late 1980s after more than two decades of hostility.

"In this declaration...Russia and China will express their vision of how to form the new international order in the 21st century and will speak out against claims by any country to the role of absolute leader," he told Interfax.

While he did not name a specific country, Yastrzhembsky was clearly referring to U.S.-led plans to grant NATO membership to some of the former Soviet Union's one-time allies in the old Warsaw Pact.

Russia views NATO expansion as a threat to European stability and an attempt to reduce Moscow's influence in the region.

Jiang, Yeltsin and the presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan will also sign a treaty on reducing armed forces along the former Soviet-Chinese border.

Jiang, who has a good knowledge of the Russian language and literature, will go on Friday to Yasnaya Polyana, the estate of writer and philosopher Leo Tolstoy about 200 km (130 miles) south of Moscow.

Reuters contributed to this report.


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