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China, Russia Sign Border Agreement


China and Russia have signed a border agreement that settles the demarcation of their 4,300-kilometer border. Stephanie Ho reports from Beijing.

In a sign of warming relations, China and Russia signed a pact Monday resolving disputes over the long border that separates the two former Communist rivals.

The agreement was initialed by visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi.

The Chinese foreign minister says the two have just signed the Sino-Russian Border Line Agreement, which settles the 4,300-kilometer border between the two countries.

Lavrov said both parties have agreed to compromises to resolve the border dispute.

He says both sides are aware of he long term benefits in building what he called a "friendly neighborhood."

The official China Daily newspaper says Russia will return 174 square kilometers of territory.

The newspaper says Russia will return Yinlong Island, also known as Tarabarov Island in Russian, and half of Heixiazi Island, also known as Bolshoi Ussuriysky.

Both areas are in northeast China, near the Heilongjiang, or Amur, River.

China and Russia have had border disputes for centuries. These conflicts culminated in violent border clashes in the 1960's and 70's, when Sino-Soviet relations were at their worst.

Both foreign ministers said the talks were "fruitful." The Russian foreign minister's trip to China follows a visit in May by new Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

China has become one of the world's largest consumers of oil and power, and is looking to secure access to Russia's oil and gas deposits.

Meanwhile, Lavrov also told reporters that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will join U.S. President George Bush and French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic games, August 8.

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