Putin praises ....

Pakistan Observer - - IN­TER­NA­TIONAL -

tion and the Krem­lin’s deepseated sus­pi­cions about the grow­ing might of China.

Putin later met with Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping, to whom he said the peo­ple of both coun­tries had a strong de­sire to “strengthen, de­velop our re­la­tions.”

“I’m sure our coun­tries can reach a big­ger success in all ar­eas in trade, in­vest­ment, agriculture, en­ergy, and of course in high tech, which is a pri­or­ity for us,” Putin told Xi.

Xi told Putin that the two coun­tries should “pro­mote widely the idea of be­ing friends for­ever.”

The close per­sonal re­la­tion­ship be­tween Putin and Xi and their shared de­sire to counter per­ceived U.S. global dom­i­na­tion ap­pear to be the main driv­ing forces be­hind Rus­sia-China co­op­er­a­tion.

The re­newed push to bol­ster re­la­tions with China came af­ter the United States and the Euro­pean Union im­posed an ar­ray of crip­pling sanc­tions on Rus­sia over its an­nex­a­tion of the Crimean Penin­sula in March 2014, cut­ting its ac­cess to world fi­nan­cial mar­kets and block­ing the trans­fer of mod­ern tech­nolo­gies. Moscow was also purged from the Group of Eight lead­ing in­dus­tri­al­ized na­tions.

In May 2014, Putin vis­ited Bei­jing and presided over the sign­ing of nu­mer­ous deals, in­clud­ing a mam­moth 30-year nat­u­ral gas con­tract worth $400 bil­lion, seek­ing to show the West that Rus­sia still had vi­able op­tions.

A later deal saw a branch of Chi­nese state-owned en­ergy com­pany CNPC buy­ing a stake in a project to build a gi­ant liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas plant on the Ya­mal Penin­sula in the Arc­tic. Also in De­cem- ber, China’s Sinopec bought a stake in Rus­sia’s Sibur en­ergy com­pany.

China has also promised to of­fer multi­bil­lion-dol­lar loans to help build a high-speed rail link be­tween Moscow and the Volga River city of Kazan. to en­cour­age in­fras­truc­ture de­vel­op­ment in for­merly Soviet Cen­tral Asia, which Rus­sia sees as its home turf. China has promised to co­or­di­nate the project with the Rus­sia-dom­i­nated Eurasian Eco­nomic Union, but clearly has put an em­pha­sis on bi­lat­eral deals with Kaza­khstan and other mem­bers of the bloc.

The prospect of po­ten­tial Chi­nese ex­pan­sion long has wor­ried res­i­dents of Rus­sia’s sparsely pop­u­lated far east­ern re­gions, es­pe­cially over the Krem­lin’s de­ci­sion to surrender sig­nif­i­cant slices of land along the 4,200-kilo­me­ter (2,600-mile) bor­der to China in a 2005 de­mar­ca­tion deal.

While am­bi­tious hopes for closer eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion haven’t ma­te­ri­al­ized, Rus­sia and China have bol­stered their mil­i­tary ties, which have in­cluded joint war games and con­tacts on mis­sile de­fense. Rus­sian weapons ex­ports to China, which peaked in the 1990s and fell dra­mat­i­cally in the fol­low­ing decade, have re­ceived a new boost re­cently.—AP

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