China and Russia signed a framework agreement yesterday that could see a steady flow of natural gas to energy-hungry China from its resource-rich neighbor.
It was one of numerous trade and military agreements signed during a state visit by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as the countries overcome traditional mistrust to push ahead mutual economic interests. Even so, there has been a growing imbalance in their ties with Russia’s economy lagging behind its booming neighbor.
Russia and China earlier yesterday signed agreements worth US$3.5 billion. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov told reporters that Russian and Chinese businessmen and officials signed the agreements, including US$500 million loans each from the China Development Bank (國家開發銀行) to its Russian equivalent VEB, and from the Agricultural Bank of China (中國農業銀行) to the state-controlled VTB bank.
Other deals included Chinese companies making investments in construction industry facilities in Russia, Zhukov said.
“Naturally, the Chinese are interested in getting [ownership] stakes,” he said, without giving any details.
The two sides also signed an agreement on advance notification for planned ballistic missile launches by either country.
The deal between Russia’s state-run natural gas monopoly Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corp (中國石油天然氣) calls for the supply of about 70 billion cubic meters of gas a year, but a price had not been set and no contract signed, Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller said.
Chinese media reports have said the agreement was expected to be a gas-for-loans deal similar to a US$25 billion oil-for-loans deal completed earlier this year.
Russia’s cash-strapped energy companies need Chinese funding, while Beijing has welcomed the chance to further diversify sources of energy. The global economic crisis and changing market conditions have further spurred cooperation as lower demand from Europe has led Russia to diversify markets for its oil and gas.
The gas framework agreement was formally signed in the presence of Putin and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶).
Putin said Russian-Chinese cooperation was one of the most important elements to ensure global stability.
“Our consolidated view on certain issues, our ability to coordinate our stance on key international developments often help calm the situation and play a stabilizing role,” he earlier told a group of Chinese reporters.
Miller said the gas contract would include a price formula and principles of setting the price based on Gazprom’s experience in gas exports and principles of international trade.
“Gazprom will independently build gas transportation facilities on the Russian territory,” he said when asked if China could invest in building gas pipelines.
He added Gazprom may welcome Chinese investments in building gas-processing facilities.
He also said an agreement was possible on supplying liquefied natural gas to China from Sakhalin Island in Russia’s far east but did not elaborate.
“We also have agreed to conduct talks on possible deliveries of LNG to China. We are looking into the possibility of starting LNG supplies to China already next year,” he said.
SCHEDULE: The delegation is due to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen this morning and witness the signing of an MOU on bilateral health cooperation in the afternoon US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar yesterday arrived in Taipei aboard a US government plane at the head of a delegation that is the highest-level visit by a US official since Washington switched diplomatic recognition to China in 1979. Azar’s flight landed at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) at 4:48pm, nearly one hour earlier than scheduled, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The apron where it landed is reserved for military aircraft, the Songshan Air Force Base Command said. The members of Azar’s delegation included HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, HHS Chief of Staff Brian
CHINESE FIGHTERS: Beijing marked the US Cabinet member’s visit by briefly sending two warplanes across the median line of the Taiwan Strait yesterday morning President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday met with US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar in the highest-level official meeting between the two nations since 1979. “It is a true honor to be here to convey a message of strong support and friendship from [US] President [Donald] Trump to Taiwan,” Azar said during the open portion of his courtesy call to the Presidential Office, which was streamed live online before Tsai and Azar held a closed-door meeting. “Taiwan’s response to COVID-19 has been among the most successful in the world, and that is a tribute to the open, transparent,
‘CROSS-STRAIT CONSIDERATIONS’: Groups said that the Ministry of Education’s policies excluded Chinese and students should not be blocked over political issues The Taiwan International Student Movement yesterday said it would protest today outside the Ministry of Education in Taipei against a policy that excludes some Chinese students from returning to Taiwan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since June 17, the ministry has allowed foreign students from 19 “low risk” and “medium-low risk” countries and regions to enter Taiwan. On July 22, it announced that it was relaxing restrictions to include students from all countries and regions who are graduating this semester and on Wednesday it further expanded entry to students enrolled in degree programs. A letter sent by the ministry on Wednesday to universities did
PARTNERSHIP AND LEARNING: A Princeton University health policy researcher said that the nation would be a ‘treasure trove’ of information for the US health chief US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar on Friday said he wants to learn about Taiwan’s “incredibly effective” response to COVID-19, even though the nation did things that the US has fumbled, such as having a unified strategy and citizens willing to wear masks. Azar leads a US delegation arriving today for a three-day visit to Taiwan. They are to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and health system leaders, and Azar is to give a speech to public health graduates. “The message of this trip is about Taiwan,” Azar said in an interview, deflecting a question about China.