MOSCOW (Reuters) -President Vladimir Putin hailed Russia’s growing trade, energy and political ties with China during talks with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in the Kremlin on Tuesday aimed at cementing their countries’ “no limits” partnership. The two leaders signed a series of documents on a “strategic cooperation” after what Putin described as “successful and constructive” […]
Putin, Xi agree ‘strategic cooperation’ in Kremlin talks
MOSCOW (Reuters) -President Vladimir Putin hailed Russia’s growing trade, energy and political ties with China during talks with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in the Kremlin on Tuesday aimed at cementing their countries’ “no limits” partnership.
The two leaders signed a series of documents on a “strategic cooperation” after what Putin described as “successful and constructive” talks which showed that China was clearly now Russia’s most important economic partner.
“I am convinced that our multi-faceted cooperation will continue to develop for the good of the peoples of our countries,” Putin said in televised remarks.
Xi’s state visit is a major boost to Putin as he squares off against what he sees as a hostile West bent on inflicting a “strategic defeat” on Russia.
The Chinese leader visited Moscow days after an international court issued an arrest warrant for him over Russia’s actions in Ukraine, where Russian forces have made little progress in recent months despite suffering heavy losses.
POWER OF SIBERIA
Putin said Russia, China and Mongolia had completed all agreements on a planned Power of Siberia 2 pipeline, which will ship Russian gas to China, and that Moscow was ready to increase oil exports to Beijing.
Putin also said Moscow was ready to help Chinese businesses replace Western firms that have left Russia over the Ukraine conflict.
The planned Power of Siberia 2 pipeline would deliver 50 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas per year from Russia to China via Mongolia. Moscow put forward the idea many years ago, but it has gained urgency as Russia turns to China to replace Europe as its major gas customer.
Xi said China and Russia should work more closely to push forward greater “practical cooperation”.
“The early harvest of (our) cooperation can be seen, and further cooperation is being advanced,” Xi told Putin, according to Hong Kong cable television.
Russia’s Gazprom already supplies gas to China through the Power of Siberia pipeline under a 30-year, $400 billion deal launched at the end of 2019. That pipeline spans some 3,000 km (1,865 miles).
Russia’s gas exports to China are still a small fraction of the record 177 bcm it delivered to Europe in 2018-19. Since the start of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022, volumes to Europe have shrunk, reaching about 62 bcm in 2022.
Putin said on Tuesday Russia would deliver at least 98 bcm of gas to China by 2030.
(Reporting by Reuters, Writing by Mark Trevelyan, Editing by Gareth Jones and Timothy Heritage)
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