News / Europe

Russia Sees China Gas Contract as a Blow Against West

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (Background L) and China's President Xi Jinping (Background R) watch during a signing ceremony in Shanghai, China, May 21, 2014.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (Background L) and China's President Xi Jinping (Background R) watch during a signing ceremony in Shanghai, China, May 21, 2014.
James Brooke
China and Russia, who have been haggling for a decade over the price of Siberian gas, have suddenly reached an agreement.

Facing Western sanctions over Ukraine, Russia’s president on Wednesday trumpeted the signing of a huge contract to supply natural gas to China.
 
Vladimir Putin talked to reporters in Shanghai about the 30-year, $400 billion gas deal.
 
It is “the biggest contract in the history of the Soviet and Russian gas industry," he said.
 
In interviews timed to make Moscow’s evening news, Putin stressed that the deal includes a $75 billion project to build pipelines and other infrastructure that will give Russia’s economy an economic bounce.
 
He said it would be “the world’s biggest construction project in the next four years, creating thousands of jobs.”
 
The contract came after 10 years of negotiations, largely over the price of Russian gas. After Wednesday’s contract signing, Alexei Miller, the head of Gazprom, Russia's state-controlled natural gas company, declined to reveal this price, saying it was “a commercial secret.”
 
With Russia’s relations with the West at their worst since the collapse of the Soviet Union, this sudden breakthrough with China seemed political. As the deal was signed, Russian and Chinese warships rocked at anchor in Shanghai’s harbor, assembled for photographers prior to a joint training exercise.

During Putin’s visit, contracts were signed to build Russia’s first rail bridge over the Amur River to China, and to jointly construct a long haul, wide body passenger jet with China.
 
At a China-Russia conference in Moscow, Elena Safronova, a China expert, said Russia and China are not becoming military allies.
 
“It is not a military alliance," she said, "but a growing partnership between neighbors.”
 
China has tread carefully on Russia’s dispute with Ukraine, partly because Ukraine is a major supplier of corn to China. Still, a Chinese company is negotiating to build a 4 kilometer road bridge from Russia’s mainland to Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula recently annexed by Russia.
 
That annexation prompted the United States and Western Europe to impose economic sanctions on Putin’s closest advisers.
 
On Wednesday, one adviser hit with sanctions, Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the State Duma, the lower house of Russia's parliament, fired off this tweet: "The 30-year gas contract with China is of strategic significance. B. Obama should give up his policy of isolating Russia: It won't work."
 
Bobo Lo, a Russia-Eurasia analyst at London’s Chatham House, says China historically benefits when Moscow has poor relations with the West.
 
“Russia becomes more China dependant," he said. "They become more China dependant as a potential energy market. But mainly they become more geopolitically dependent on China.”
 
Russian gas will help China meet its goal of tripling natural gas use by the end of this decade. But China now gets gas pipelined from both Turkmenistan and Burma, and is building 14 terminals to receive ships with liquefied natural gas from fields as far away as Australia, Mozambique and Qatar.
 
Russia’s pipeline gas is to flow at the end of this decade, supplying about 10 percent of China’s estimated needs. Lo says that Russia needs China more than China needs Russia.
 
“Russia still is a secondary priority for the Chinese," said Lo. "Number one priority for the Chinese: the United States. Number two priority, basically: the Asia Pacific region. Russia actually comes further down the list.”
 
But the Chinese gas deal is expected to give Russia’s president a psychological boost as he prepares to meet Western leaders in France on June 6 - the 70th anniversary of World War II's D-Day invasion

You May Like

Beijing Warns Hong Kong Protesters, Cracks Down at Home

In suppressing protest news, China reportedly has arrested more than 20 people on the mainland who acted in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters More

Competing Goals Could Frustrate Efforts to Fight Islamic State

As alliances shift and countries re-define themselves, analysts say long-standing goals of some key players in Middle East may soon compete with Western goals More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Daniel from: Moscow
May 23, 2014 7:41 AM
Jim,

Interesting to see you back in Russia! I follow your work as much as I can. But the last thing I recall was your 'heading off to Cambodia'. What happened?


by: Anonymous
May 22, 2014 1:03 PM
Oh so Russia and China would do the same thing as Bashar al Assad? Murder their own people that oppose the leaders? This is what is happening in Syria, everyone is considered a terrorists who disproves of bashar al assad. Bashar al assad has murdered more unarmed non-military civilians than anyone else in the Syrian war. China and Russia veto the move to go after those responsible with the International Criminal Court. Why would they do this? Why would they defend someone who is a criminal killing its own people. The answer is easy, China and Russia would do the exact same thing to their people. The people have no say.

Shame on China and Russia, nobody should do business with these types of countries that foster, and promote ruthless lawless dictatorship. People who inflict crimes like bashar al assad are the dirtiest scum of the earth and that's a fact.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid