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  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 3:12pm
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DIPLOMACY

China-Russia relations at all-time high, says Putin ahead of Shanghai visit

Kremlin chief aims to seal long-discussed gas deal and will encourage Chinese investment in Russia during trip to Shanghai this week

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 May, 2014, 4:17pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 May, 2014, 3:33am

Amid a crisis in relations with the West over Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin is moving to bolster ties with China.

Russia saw relations with Beijing as a top priority and their ties now were the best ever, Putin said in an interview with Chinese media released by the Kremlin before his trip to Shanghai today.

He said a deal on Russian natural gas exports to China was close to being signed, and would allow Russia to diversify its export routes and let China meet its growing demand for energy.

Russia, which sends most of its gas exports to Europe, has sought to develop an export link to China, but the two nations have been locked for nearly two decades in talks over price.

[The gas deal] is uncertain because the price is still an important issue
LI XING, PEKING UNIVERSITY

Moscow speeded up work on the contract after the United States and European Union slapped travel bans and asset freezes on members of Putin's entourage over Russia's annexation of Crimea and threatened to impose harsher sanctions.

"In the context of the turbulent global economy, the strengthening of mutually beneficial trade and economic ties, as well as the increase of investment flows between Russia and China, are of paramount importance," Putin said.

A deal would secure Beijing a key chunk of supply as demand for the cleaner burning fuel is set to surge.

Putin said that Russia wanted more Chinese investment, in particular in a free-trade zone in the far eastern port of Vladivostok.

"Obviously, we are interested in Chinese businessmen making use of these opportunities and become one of the leaders here, since both Russia and China will benefit from an accelerated development of the Russian far east," he said.

Li Lifan, a Russian and Central Asian affairs expert at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said Russia needed Chinese capital to develop its far east.

Even though the price of Russian gas may be higher than Beijing's original estimation, the government could demand more favourable down payment conditions, Li said.

Li Xing, a Russian affairs expert at Peking University, said hopes were high that the deal could be signed despite sanctions imposed against Russia.

But he added: "It is uncertain because the price is still an important issue."

Li Lifan said Russia would also solicit Beijing's support on Crimea, amid the unrest in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Moscow activists want to join Russia.

"Putin wants China's support," Li said. "China may boost economic investment or participate in infrastructure projects in Crimea, but it's unlikely it will offer strong political support."

Li said Beijing may want Russia's support in handling South China Sea disputes and its row with Vietnam, even though a Sino-Russian military drill in the disputed waters was unlikely.

Associated Press, Reuters

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This article is now closed to comments

pwpw
Ukraine is another typical example of how the West uses so-called democracy (or rather, fake dreams) as a weapon to split up nations. If it weren't for the western tampering behind the scene, Ukrainians won't have those riots in the first place and Russia wouldn't need to get involved. Ironic that the West wouldn't accept the result of the recent vote for independence, when all along they have been preaching democracy.
Kudos to Russia for stepping up against those western bullies to show that they meant business.
Rambo
The better China-Russia relations are, the better for the world.
eddywonlung247
If that's the case that you feel ashamed to live here in Hong Kong , please feel free to go and live in America and live the American Dream! In your case I guess the British going over to America and destroyed and killed the native Indians to steal their country and still they are creating more wars so I guess America are the biggest evil in the world. So Mr uneducated racist thug please study your history correctly.
eddywonlung247
The British went over to the Americas killed and destroyed nearly all the native Indians and colonised it and now call it theirs, the Japanese went to war with the Americans and could not finish the job off and now we have the worlds biggest criminals in the world, America.
Now China and Russia are together, they will have to finish off what the japanese could not.
Please all you people who don't like china, please leave, we don't need you, you could go back to your poor country and live off the state.
michaelhctam@gmail.com
the China haters are losers back home so you'll find them in places like Thailand or Cambodia trying to find underage girls to breed.
pwpw
Exactly, and logic is what you don't have. Who do you think is behind the break-up of Ukraine? Initiate wars everywhere on Earth claiming to "free the people"? Where are the chemical weapons in Iraq, that's the main initiation for the U.S. to attack you know? Out of tens of thousands of buildings, Chinese embassy got bombed because of intel error, you really believe that?
According to the Federation of American Scientists and the CIA as of Nov 2013, China has 240 nuclear warheads, North Korea has less than 10, while Iran has nil. You know how much nukes the U.S. carries? almost 8,000! I wonder how you claim Iran can nuke neighbors when they don't even have any? Who's the psychopath here making up stories to justify their war initiations everywhere on Earth? Who's the psychopath here with its kids shooting other kids in high schools every now and then? And have such serious and widespread drug problems where narcotics have found its way through every level of society easily accessible to even teenagers?
While I do agree with you on the one point that it is shameful to lock away a few good citizens for speaking out against malpractices, I suggest that you get out of your cave and have a better understanding of modern China; there is nothing Communist about the Communist Party apart from its name.
I am sorry to wake you from your dream, but the true rogues are the U.S. and its allies. China-Russia relationship is simply counter-measures against the psycopaths
honger
Huan Ying to China, Mr Putin!
Bravo for standing up to the bullies and hosting dear Mr Snowden.
I Gandhi
Hero Putin vs Snake Obama.
M Miyagi
Welcome to Asia Mr Putin.
Max Diethelm
You forgot to mention Philippines, Vietnam and Japan.

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