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

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees 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.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More