Thu, Oct 13, 2011 - Page 5 News List

Russian PM hits out at US dollar’s world dominance

AP, BEIJING

Russia and China talked up their burgeoning but still fraught ties yesterday, with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin taking a swipe at the US as a parasite.

On a two-day visit to Beijing, Putin and Chinese leaders pledged to resolve disputes over pricing that are stalling plans for Russian deliveries of natural gas by two pipelines. Chinese state-backed firms also promised to invest US$1.5 billion in a Siberian aluminum smelter and to put US$1 billion into a joint investment fund, among agreements officials said were worth US$7 billion.

Calling Putin “an old friend of China,” Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) said the Russian leader’s visit “moved forward the Sino-Russian comprehensive strategic relationship.”

In an interview with state media late on Tuesday and released yesterday, Putin praised cooperation with China and lashed out at the US, describing the greenback’s dominance as parasitic.

“The US is not a parasite for the world economy, but the US dollar’s monopoly is a parasite,” Putin said, according to a report on the interview from Xinhua news agency.

Putin said he offered the criticism constructively in a search for common solutions to ease a roiling world economy.

Putin has frequently tried to use Russia’s burgeoning ties with Beijing as a counterbalance to US global predominance. And Chinese leaders have reciprocated the gestures.

Last week, the two countries squelched a UN Security Council resolution condemning Syria for its brutal crackdown on pro-reform protesters that has killed nearly 3,000 people since March. Their vetoes drew heavy criticism from Washington.

After meeting Putin on Tuesday, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) told reporters that China wanted to push ahead a “comprehensive strategic partnership” with Russia that would safeguard world stability and development.

However, even as they reach out to each other, strains are evident between Moscow and Beijing in the trade and security issues that have bolstered relations over the past decade. Moscow is unhappy with China’s copying of Russian fighter jets and other military hardware and recently announced the arrest of a Chinese man accused of seeking to buy military secrets.

While trade is booming — rising, by China’s count, to more than 39 percent to US$35.9 billion in the first half of the year from the same period last year — it’s heavily geared toward Chinese purchases of Russian resources. Moscow wants more Chinese investment in Russia itself.

Wrangling over the price of gas to be delivered by two Siberian pipelines has gone on for two years and come to symbolize the difficulties the former Cold War rivals still have in cooperating. Russia prefers to link gas prices to oil prices, as it does in Europe, while China wants a lower price. If Russia’s OAO Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corp can reach a deal, deliveries are to start by 2015.

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