BELARUSIAN, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTS SIGN 10-YEAR ECONOMIC ACCORD. Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Leonid Kuchma, meeting in Minsk on 11 December, signed a 10-year economic cooperation treaty and discussed ways to reduce the impact of the Russian financial crisis on both countries, Belarusian Television reported. "Whether we like it or not, relations between Belarus and Ukraine are directly dependent on stability in the Russian Federation," Lukashenka commented after the talks. AP reported that Lukashenka and Kuchma did not settle differences over the repayment of Ukraine's $200 million debt to Belarus. They will return to the issue in February. JM

UKRAINE, CHINA SIGN TRADE DEALS. During Ukrainian Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk's visit to Beijing last week, Ukraine and China signed two trade agreements and discussed cooperation in farming and other areas, AP reported on 12 December. Ukraine's trade with China in 1997 totaled $1.25 billion but has dropped by 30 percent this year. Tarasyuk said growing Chinese trade barriers to Ukrainian imports are to blame for this decrease. Tarasyuk confirmed Kyiv's commitment to the "one China" policy, which recognizes Taiwan as a province of mainland China. "We are maintaining trade and economic relations with Taiwan on an unofficial basis, but we have no military and technical contacts with it," ITARTASS quoted him as saying. JM

EBRD MAY SUPPORT COMPLETING UKRAINE'S TWO NUCLEAR REACTORS. Horst Koehler, head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, said in Kyiv on 11 December that the EBRD might provide financing to complete the construction of two nuclear reactors at the nuclear power plants in Khmelnytskyy and Rivne, dpa and AP reported. Ukraine wants to complete the reactors to compensate for the planned closure of the Chornobyl plant in 2000. Opponents of the reactors in Khmelnytskyy and Rivne say technology at those facilities is outdated and unprofitable. Koehler said in Kyiv that completing the reactors is the cheapest solution to the Chornobyl problem, but he warned that the EBRD will disburse the loan only if Ukraine proves the reactors can make enough profit to repay the loan. JM