Putin Prioritizes Strong Sino/Russian Ties
by Stephen Lendman
On November 10, Putin addressed Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum members. Calling Russia’s participation strategically important.
Intending expanded cooperation. Through increased trade and investment incentives. “The twenty-first century has already been called ‘the Pacific century,’ ” he said.
“Russia must make use of the competitive advantages offered by this fast-growing economic, technology and innovation centre.”
Russian Siberian and Far Eastern regions “offer a unique chance for this vast region’s countries to effectively develop and make use of the opportunities there and further strengthen their potential.”
“Cooperation with the Asia-Pacific region is one of Russia’s strategic priorities. The overall constructive spirit that characterises our relations with the vast majority of countries in the region is very important.”
“We value this spirit greatly and will do everything possible to develop bilateral and multilateral cooperation in a wide range of areas.”
“Trade with the Asia-Pacific region countries represents more than a quarter of Russia’s total trade today.”
“We want to increase this share to 40 percent, and we are taking concrete steps to expand the geography of our exports and increase the share of non-raw materials and high-tech goods.”
Through “fast-growth zones offering tax incentives and simplified administrative procedures.”
Putin called China one of Russia’s key trading partners. Increasingly its most important one. Planning expanded bilateral trade in rubles and yuan.
Bypassing dollar transactions. Weakening it in the process. Welcoming similar relations with other regional countries.
Based on “mutually advantageous cooperation.” Saying economic integration “is clearly taking the fore on the APEC agenda today.”
Calling China’s “concrete steps towards establishing” Asia/Pacific free trade zone agreements a major accomplishment.
Benefitting all participants. Saying “(s)witching (to) large-scale (ruble/yuan transactions) means that the impact of the dollar on the global energy sector will objectively decline.”
Advantageus “for the global economy (and) world of finance and (its) energy markets.”
Helpful in “expand(ing) our capabilities in mutual trade…In cooperation with (China), we intend to use the national currency more widely in mutual settlements.”
Especially in energy transactions. Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov added:
“Much attention has been paid to the topic of mutual payments in yuan in a variety of areas, including such sensitive ones as military and technical cooperation. This will help to strengthen the yuan as a reserve local currency.”
In May, Russia and China consummated an historic gas deal. Largest bilateral one ever. Worth a reported $400 billion for 30 years.
Potentially much more. Perhaps twice as large as reported. Depending on China’s future energy needs.
Establishing a mutually beneficial energy partnership. Increased overall trade. Stronger economic and financial ties.
Accelerated Russian far eastern economic and social development. Increased ruble/yuan trade. Eventually relying on it exclusively.
Bypassing dollar transactions entirely. In all Sino/Russian trade. Other countries doing the same thing.
In Beijing, Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping signed a Western (Altay) gas supplies route to China memorandum of understanding.
For 30 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas annually. Potentially more based on China’s internal needs.
Along with the Eastern Power of Siberia pipeline. Eventually supplying about 38 bcm of gas annually to China.
Making China more than ever its largest Russian gas consumer. According to Gazprom CEO Aleksey Miller:
“After we have launched supplies via the western route,” volume to China will exceed European exports.
Commenting on future prospects with China, Putin said:
“We have reached an understanding in principle concerning the opening of the western route.”
“We have already agreed on many technical and commercial aspects of this project, laying a good basis for reaching final arrangements.”
Sixteen other Sino/Russian agreements were finalized in Beijing. Including a framework Gazprom/China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) agreement.
A separate Gazprom/China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) one.
Gazprom and CNPC agreed on CNOOC acquiring a 10% stake in Vancorneft. A large Russian oil and gas producer.
At the same time, Sergey Lavrov and China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi discussed mutual cooperation between both countries.
On Sunday, Lavrov said:
“We appreciate the opportunity to have our meeting today to discuss the current bilateral and international relations, especially minding the tough schedule of our Chinese friends” during the ongoing APEC Forum.
“We are sure the summit will be a success, and we share your optimism about the bilateral meeting of our leaders.”
“It will be the fifth meeting on the highest level this year. Other contacts, including meetings of prime ministers, parliament speakers are not less intensive.”
“I hope today we shall discuss the current cooperation between the foreign ministries and the role of our strategic partnership in the international arena.”
On November 10, China’s Xinhua News Agency addressed Obama’s APEC participation. After a two year absence.
Saying the “world is closely watching whether” its two largest economies “can figure out a solution to stabilize their relations and manage their differences, for their standoff may lead to collateral damages.”
“None can deny” bilateral differences. Numerous “ups and downs” in relations. Tensions remaining unresolved.
Largely from Obama’s Asia pivot. Involving advancing America’s military footprint. Targeting China’s economic and military might.
Checking Russia at the same time. Containment is official policy. Cold war politics is back.
Unchallenged global dominance is prioritized. Anything goes intends to maintain it. Perhaps war in a part of the world especially hostile to invaders.
Vietnam echoes remain audible. So are Afghan and other US imperial war disasters. China and Russia are formidable powers.
Instead of engaging them responsibly, Washington prioritizes confrontation. Failing to learn history’s lessons. Calling repeated failures successes.
According to Xinhua, Obama’s so-called Asia/Pacific rebalancing “arouse(s) suspicions in this region.”
Common interests outweigh differences. Relations between both countries are based on “the experience of bilateral ties over the past 35 years.”
China offers a “new model.” Featuring “non-conflict and non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation.”
Along with “constructive mindset and pragmatism to minimize” differences. Both countries should prioritize “cooperative coexistence.”
It’s up to Washington to “embrac(e) China and other emerging powers.”
“The vast (Asia/Pacific region) has enough space to accommodate the interests of the United States, China and other economies.”
“Benign collaboration in the region will bring more benefits than troubles. This is the direction towards which the US should rebalance.”
So far it shows no intention of doing so. Obama’s Beijing address urged China to partner in ensuring world order.
Suggesting it undermines it. Turning truth on its head saying so. Blaming others for its high crimes. Longstanding US policy.
Both countries have major geopolitical differences. Including on war and peace. Political, economic, and financial relations. Maritime issues. Cyber security among others.
Most of all, China’s ascendance as a major world economic/military power. Washington goes all-out to undermine it.
Risking Sino/US confrontation. Potential war when avoiding it matters most.
America’s growing Asian military footprint makes the unthinkable possible. Given its rage for war.
Deploring peace. Efforts to contain China and Russia reflect madness. It’s hard imagining any country challenging them militarily.
Obama rules out no options. Prioritizing global belligerence. Proliferating violence, instability and chaos.
Cold-blooded US realpolitik. In Washington’s odious tradition. Waging global wars reflect it.
Believing America has sovereign rights over territory, waters and air space not its own. A recipe for heightened tensions. Eventual confrontation.
Washington has been rebalancing for years. Strengthening military, economic, and political ties with Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar, Singapore and Vietnam.
Aiming to undermine Sino/Russian influence. Isolate them from neighbors. Assert US dominance. Making never again possible.
Flashpoints have a way of igniting the unthinkable. Small disputes precipitate greater ones.
America’s global military footprint generates one conflict after another. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Somalia, Yemen and elsewhere.
Confronting China and Russia militarily is madness. Doing so threatens world peace. Neocons infest Washington. Lunatics.
Humanity’s greatest threat. Stopping them matters most. Survival depends on it.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.