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China, Brazil Sign Oil Deal

China has agreed to lend $10 billion to Brazil's Petrobras, in return for guaranteed oil supply over the next decade. The deal was among a host of agreements signed during Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's state visit to China, which ends Wednesday.

Chinese President Hu Jintao and Brazilian President Lula da Silva witnessed the signing of 13 agreements in Beijing.

The highlight was a $10 billion loan from China Development Bank to Brazil's state-owned Petrobras oil company. In return, Petrobras is to supply China's state-owned Sinopec with up to 200,000 barrels of oil a day for the next 10 years.

China's official Xinhua News Agency late Tuesday gave no details about the other agreements, except to say they covered equipment, financing, science, space, law, ports and agricultural products.

China last month overtook the United States to become Brazil's number one trading partner, with two-way trade in April reaching $3.2 billion.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told reporters in Beijing the Brazilian leader's visit will further strengthen what he described as "the already existing sound cooperation between the two countries."

Ma says the visit also will promote what he described as a strategic partnership between China and Brazil. The two countries have agreed to hold a second strategic dialogue later this year.

China and Brazil are part of a loose grouping of four emerging economies, known as BRIC, which also includes Russia and India. Foreign ministers from the four BRIC nations are scheduled to meet in Russia in June.

The Chinese spokesman said his government is "positive" about its participation in the meeting.

Ma says dialogue and cooperation among the four countries are "transparent and open," and "not directed against any other country."

Meanwhile, in an essay printed in the China Daily, the country's main English language newspaper, President Lula da Silva said his visit comes as Brazil and China mark 35 years of diplomatic relations. He says the two nations now need to focus on the challenges of taking the partnership to, in his words, "a higher level."

Mr. da Silva's last stop before leaving Beijing Wednesday was at the Chinese Aerospace Technology Agency.

China and Brazil in 1988 began a jointly-funded satellite program that generates high-definition images of the earth. The Brazilian leader praised this project as a successful and concrete example of cooperation between two emerging countries, and said the satellite images will be made freely available to countries in Africa.