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  Monday, November 30, 2020
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China's leader begins a three-day official visit to Russia Monday to talk energy deals
China's leader begins a three-day official visit to Moscow Monday to talk energy deals, mutual investment and international issues. In an interview published in the Chinese media ahead of the visit Hu Jintao said "partnership and strategic cooperation" between China and Russia had entered "a new development phase." Trade between the two fast-growing nations increased 43% in 2006 to $28.64 billion, according to Russia's customs authorities, with energy and military hardware dominating Russia's exports to the Asian giant. Last year Russian oil exports hit 15 million metric tons (110.25 million bbl), with over 11 million (80.85 million bbl) transported by rail. Energy-hungry China is also looking to a 4,700-kilometer (2,920-mile) pipeline being built which will pump up to 1.6 million barrels per day of crude from Siberia to Russia's Far East, a project that is also of interest to Japan. But Russia has moved to diversify economic ties with China in a bid to cut its dependence on oil revenues. The two countries have signed contracts totaling over $3.3 billion in recent years, and Moscow expects Chinese business to invest about $12 billion in timber processing, the chemical industry, mineral resource production, car manufacturing, banking and other spheres in Russia by 2020. North Korea's nuclear program and a long-running nuclear dispute with Iran are likely to be raised as Hu meets with President Vladimir Putin. Beijing hosted the latest, sixth round of talks to persuade North Korea to abandon nuclear research, but it was suspended over technical issues involved with the unfreezing of Pyongyang's bank accounts. Russia and China, both permanent veto-wielding UN Security Council members involved in international efforts to persuade Iran to drop its nuclear ambitions, have backed sanctions against Tehran over defiance to halt uranium enrichment which could eventually be used in nuclear weapons production. Cooperation within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a security and economic organization that also involves ex-Soviet Asian states, will also be on the agenda as the two countries increasingly compete for influence in the resources-rich region.
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