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

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs