Posts Tagged ‘OBOR-EEU’

China, Russia eye closer friendship amid tensions with West

June 25, 2016

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Putin and Xi shake hands at the end of a joint press briefing in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on June 25, 2016.PHOTO: EPA

BEIJING (AFP) – Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin promised ever-closer cooperation and oversaw a series of deals on Saturday, as the two countries deepen ties in the face of growing tensions with the West.

In what was Putin’s fourth trip to China since Xi became president in 2013, the two men stressed their shared outlook which mirrors the countries’ converging trade, investment and geopolitical interests.

“Russia and China stick to points of view which are very close to each other or are almost the same in the international arena,” Putin said.

The Russian leader added that the two had discussed “strengthening together the fight against international terrorism”, the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula, Syria, and stability in the South China Sea.

Russia and China have been brought together by mutual geopolitical concerns, among them wariness of the United States.

The two countries often vote as a pair on the UN Security Council, where both hold a veto, sometimes in opposition to Western powers on issues such as Syria.

China has raised tensions with its neighbours and the US over its claims to virtually all of the South China Sea, where it has built militarised artificial islands to bolster its claims in the contested but strategically vital region.

Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula and support for other Ukrainian separatist movements have led to the worst East-West standoff since the Cold War.

At loggerheads with the West, Moscow is seeking to refocus its gas and oil exports from Europe – its main energy market – towards Asia and is diligently building an energy alliance with Beijing.

Xi emphasised that this year marked the 15th anniversary of the China-Russia treaty of friendship and hoped that the two countries might remain “friends forever”.

“President Putin and I equally agree that when faced with international circumstances that are increasingly complex and changing, we must persist even harder in maintaining the spirit of the Sino-Russian strategic partnership and cooperation,” he said.

The two sides signed over 30 cooperation deals in areas such as trade, infrastructure, foreign affairs, technology and innovation, agriculture, finance, energy, sports and the media.

Notably, Russian oil giant Rosneft inked a deal with China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec) on developing a gas processing and petrochemical plant in East Siberia, as China seeks energy to fuel its economic growth.

Xi and Putin signed two joint statements themselves, one “to strengthen global strategic stability” and one to promote the development of information and cyberspace.

Putin said that 58 different deals worth a total of around S$50 billion (S$67 billion) were currently in discussion, adding that the two countries will seek to secure an agreement on building a high-speed rail line in Russia by the end of the year.

Xi also called for closer cooperation between news agencies in Russia and China so that both countries could “together increase the influence” of their media on world public opinion.

Under Xi, Communist China has mounted crackdowns on dissidents and tightened restrictions on the media, while critics accuse Putin’s Russia of rights abuses.

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Hot off Brexit, Vladimir Putin goes to China

June 25, 2016
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As the whole planet attempts to digest the implications of Brexit, the real heart of 21st century action once again shifts to Beijing, where President Vladimir Putin on Saturday pays a visit to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Business will include clinching a $6.2 billion high-speed rail deal; increased supply of Russian wheat to China – by building a Trans-Baikal grain terminal; and steps towards deeper military cooperation. They are already cooperating on an engine that will power the new Russia-China airliner.

Everything connected to the Russia-China partnership spells out Eurasia integration. It starts with the New Silk Roads, a.k.a. One Belt, One Road (OBOR), which will progressively interplay with the Eurasia Economic Union (EEU), as Putin emphasized at the St. Petersburg forum. It involves the expansion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO); the immediate future of BRICS, including the New Development Bank (NDB); projects to be financed by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB); and Russia-China coordination inside the G20.

OBOR and the EEU naturally merge as Eurasia will be slowly but surely fashioned into a massive emporium – an interlocking trade and infrastructure network stretching from Russia’s Far East and the Chinese east coast to Western Europe, including the Middle East and Africa on the way.

Geopolitically, the expansion of OBOR-EEU is Eurasia’s response to the lame duck Obama administration-peddled Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which excludes both Russia and China. Xi Jinping has visited Central Asia and Eastern Europe recently – from Serbia to Uzbekistan – selling OBOR. Moscow, considering its influence over Balkan states, will add extra support.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, is greeted by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on Saturday, June 25, 2016. (Greg Baker, Pool Photo via AP)

One just needs to look at some numbers to gauge the power of the multi-pronged Chinese offensive. Beijing is rolling out up to $100 billion to the NDB; between $50 billion and $100 billion to the AIIB; $40 billion to the Silk Road Fund; $40 billion to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). These multilateral financial investments will roll out in stages – and can be easily paid out of the yearly surplus in cash of Beijing’s myriad current operations.

Additionally, Beijing has as much as a $4 trillion pile of cash to be used at the discretion of Xi and the collective leadership. This is the reality – not the usual US ‘Think Tankland’ blabbering about China’s imminent implosion. Compare it with the Fed printing so many new US dollars, about $60 billion a month, as the US would have a really hard time committing to any possible financial investment (apart from war) in the $100 billion range.

Russian President Vladimir Putin. © Sergey Guneev
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Supply chain geopolitics, anyone?

Beijing and Moscow inevitably would have come to the conclusion that their strategic partnership creates leverage and thus increases its value as it translates into multi-vector supply chain geopolitics.

‘Pipelineistan’

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Siberian deals – is an essential node of the whole package, as Russia will ensure the supply of natural gas to China bypassing the dreaded Strait of Malacca, which Beijing well knows the US Navy could easily block at will. The interpenetration also translates, for instance, into Gazprom offering CNPC a stake in the monster Vankor gas field.

Moscow for its part does not need to rely exclusively on the West for foreign investment – on top of it controlled/sanctioned by Washington. Chinese investment will be key, as under OBOR-EEU synergy, Russia should be well on its way of developing its full potential as a global supplier of energy and agriculture and a privileged transit corridor across the whole of Eurasia.

Russia may even profit from climate change. Few may know that Russia – with permafrost fast retreating – is warming up faster than any other nation. That opens the vista of new fertile soils that could allow poultry and fish to be exported to – where else – China. Not to mention torrential amounts of freshwater. Chinese companies are buying large stakes in Russian fertilizer companies such as Uralkali as well as becoming partners of Singapore-based companies to go all out into food processing in Russia.

Contrary to what US ‘Think Tankland’ never ceases to parrot, the Russia-China strategic partnership goes way beyond a mere supply-demand alliance of convenience. Were the Kremlin to take the fateful decision, Chinese companies could certainly rebuild creaking parts of Russian infrastructure in only a few years.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/348214-hot-off-brexit-vladimir-putin/

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