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China, Russia to step up energy cooperation: Vice Premier
May 1, 2015, 6:14 am

Russian President Vladimir Putin with his Chinese counterpart during the APEC Summit in Beijing on 10 November 2014 [Image: PPIO]

Russian President Vladimir Putin with his Chinese counterpart during the APEC Summit in Beijing on 10 November 2014 [Image: PPIO]

Ahead of a Putin-Xi meet next week, Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli and his Russian counterpart, Arkady Dvorkovich spoke by telephone to discuss preparations.

Energy cooperation is expected to top the list of priorities during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow on May 8.

Zhang and Dvorkovich co-chaired a China-Russia Energy Cooperation Committee meeting last month in Beijing.

During Thursday’s phone conversation, Zhang said he expects the two sides to “actively implement the agreements reached at the committee meeting and carry forward energy cooperation between the two countries”.

Russia’s upper house of Parliament, the Federation Council, has ratified the plan to deliver 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas to China earlier this week.

Zhang also told his Russia counterpart on Thursday, “China attaches great importance to the promotion of cooperation on major projects in transport infrastructure, such as high-speed railways”.

Beijing is interested in funding Russia’s first high-speed rail line between Moscow and Kazan. China would invest a total of $5.2 billion in the project.

The bulk of the investment, $4.3 billion at current exchange rates will come in the form of 20-year loans from Chinese banks, and the other $860 million would come as an equity payment from the Chinese company in charge of the project, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported in March, citing sources familiar with the proposal.

China intends to ramp up trade with Russia to $100 billion in 2015, the Chinese Ambassador to Russia, Li Hui has said.

Putin and Xi, in November last year, signed a 30-year gas supply contract with China via the western route, making China the biggest consumer of Russian gas.

The new supply line comes in addition to the “eastern” route, through the “Power of Siberia” pipeline, which will annually deliver 38 bcm of gas to China. Work on that pipeline route has already begun after a $400 billion deal was clinched in May.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will reach Moscow on May 8 for the celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of Russia’s defeat of Nazi Germany and 70 years since the end of World War II.

Putin and Xi will also meet during the 7th BRICS Summit on July 8-9 in the Russian city of Ufa.


TBP and Agencies