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BEIJING (Kyodo) Chinese and Japanese researchers have agreed to work together on technology for robots that can do relief work after floods and earthquakes, a lead Chinese researcher said Thursday.

On Monday, Shenyang Institute of Automation officially opened the Sino-Japan Rescue and Safety Robot Technology Research Center in the city of Shenyang.

Its Japanese partner, the nonprofit, government-sanctioned International Rescue System Institute of Japan, is expected to set up a complementary center in Japan.

Because the two institutes had exchanged ideas informally for two years, they decided to work together formally for an open-ended period, probably three to five years, said Han Jianda, a Shenyang Institute of Automation research fellow in charge of 35 Chinese robot designers.

The two teams will exchange visits and cooperate in a way approved by both governments to develop robot technology, Han said. They will work on robots that can do underwater flood rescues, find earthquake survivors and check for forest fire danger, according to China’s official Xinhua News Agency.

Quakes are common in Japan and western China, and deadly floods strike south-central China every summer.

Disaster relief robots may also be able to treat agricultural diseases, check insect pests and maintain long-distance gas and oil pipelines, Xinhua said.

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