KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — China's President Hu Jintao on Monday oversaw the signing of business deals worth $3.5 billion on his first visit to Ukraine.
Hu said that the agreements in energy, technology, trade and other fields will bring bilateral relations "to a new level of strategic partnership."
Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych has sought to cultivate ties with China, largely neglected by his predecessor Viktor Yushchenko who pursued a firmly pro-Western course.
Hu's predecessor, Jiang Zemin, visited Ukraine 10 years ago.
"I can say without exaggeration that this is a historic breakthrough in Ukranian-Chinese relations," Yanukovych after his talks with Hu. Hu's three-day state visit to Ukraine included a trip to the Black Sea's Crimean Peninsula.
Yanukovych called for increasing Ukrainian exports of grain and food products to China and voiced hope for a closer cooperation in aircraft making. He said that bilateral trade this year was expected to reach $10 billion, a 80 percent increase compared to last year.
Ukraine also secured a loan from China to build a high-speed railway linking Kiev's Boryspil airport with the capital.