A senior Russian official said on Thursday that China's state oil company could be offered 20 percent of a giant subsidiary of the oil company Yukos that was confiscated and sold 11 days earlier. \nThe offer, although still conditional, could give the China National Petroleum Corp a stake in a company that extracts 11 percent of Russia's oil, signaling deeper economic cooperation between Russia and China. \nBut the announcement only further muddied the circumstances of the auction of the subsidiary, Yuganskneftegaz, as well as the question of who will ultimately own what was once Yukos' main asset. \nA newly created shell company called the Baikal Finance Group bought 76.6 percent of Yuganskneftegaz's shares on Dec. 19 with an uncontested bid of US$9.4 billion, far less than Yukos executives and other analysts have said it is worth. \nThat company was then purchased -- for an undisclosed amount -- by Rosneft, a government-owned oil company whose directors include the deputy chief of staff of Russian President Vladimir Putin. \nRosneft, in turn, is merging with Gazprom, the government-controlled energy monopoly, to create an oil and gas giant. \nIn a two-paragraph statement, however, Russia's minister of industry and energy, Viktor Khristenko, said the controlling stake in Yuganskneftegaz would now be transferred to a newly created state company and would not become part of the merger between Gaz-prom and Rosneft. \nThat merger would be completed in January, he said, but the subsidiary would not "be among the consolidated assets." \nKhristenko's statement suggested the government hoped to shield Gazprom from lawsuits that Yukos' executives have promised to file in retaliation for what they say was an illegal expropriation in the guise of a tax claim. \nYukos already won an injunction from a federal bankruptcy judge in Houston that appeared to scare away prominent Western lenders that had been prepared to help Gazprom finance the purchase of Yuganskneftegaz. \nA member of Yukos' executive board, Aleksandr Temerko, criticized the statement as part of the Kremlin's efforts to escape legal culpability for its role in dismantling Yukos. \n"We view today's statement on plans dealing with Yuganskneftegaz as an attempt by certain people linked with Gazprom and Rosneft to avoid being held accountable for the illegitimate and flawed sale of Yukos' core asset," he told the Interfax news agency. \nThe Baikal Finance Group -- or, now, Rosneft -- has until mid-January to come up with the money to complete the purchase of the subsidiary, and the potential sources of that financing remain unclear. \nChina, where demand for oil is soaring and interest in Russia's natural resources has grown, could well be part of the answer.
BRIBERY CASE: President Tsai Ing-wen accepted Su Jia-chyuan’s resignation as he said that he deeply regretted causing trouble for the president due to the investigation Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) yesterday resigned after his nephew, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清), was implicated in a bribery case related to a dispute over the ownership of Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨). “I resigned from the post so that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would not be bothered by it anymore, and the prosecutors can investigate the case in a fair and just manner. I thank President Tsai once again for supporting me. May the country continue to prosper under her leadership,” Su Jia-chyuan said in a statement. The Presidential Office said that Tsai has accepted
ALEX AZAR: The first visit by a head of the Department of Health and Human Services would strictly observe the CECC’s special regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar is to lead a delegation to Taiwan — the highest-level visit by a US Cabinet official since the two sides cut formal relations in 1979. The plan was announced yesterday morning by the US Department of Health and Human Services and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Beijing has expressed its concerns to Washington, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said later yesterday. Taiwan and the US only issued statements saying that the visit would happen “in the coming days.” MOFA said that due to security concerns, it would
‘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
The military last week sent “no small number” of Marine Corps officers to the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Island, 東沙群島) following reports of a Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) drill targeting the islands scheduled for this month. In an interview with Hong Kong’s Bauhinia Magazine published on Saturday last week, PLA National Defense University professor Li Daguang (李大光) confirmed that the Chinese army was planning to stage a simulated invasion of the Pratas Islands in the South China Sea this month. The islands comprise three atolls, with Pratas Island, at 1.74km2, being the largest. They lie southwest of Taiwan proper in the South