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

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora