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Putin's visit to China: where does this "path"?
Material posted: Publication date: 31-05-2014

The talks, held by Russian President in Shanghai, was in the spotlight of the world media. Politicians and experts also paid special attention to them. It is noted that Moscow and Beijing are making significant changes in the global geopolitical environment. Some experts even predict a formation of the new world order. Interest agreements reached between the parties. A separate response to the signing of a gas deal. But it should be noted that this event is estimated in different ways. And what happens in reality?

The last visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to China is called historical. Some also regard it as the beginning of a new stage in world order. According to a specialist on BRICS countries and Russia-China relations Zhu Csince, "the meeting of two heads of state is symbolic and associated with the new world order" (see: Poutine va discuter en Chine un "nouvel ordre mondial" / "Le Figaro", may 20, 2014).

The Russian President noted that the two countries have been unprecedented in the history of the level of cooperation. To mention the fact that a similar contract in the field of gas has not yet been signed, Putin also hinted to its geopolitical importance (see: Andrei Kolesnikov. The contract mnogorazovogo use / Kommersant, may 22, 2014).

The reaction of the Western media was also very interesting moments. Having conducted various analyses, making different conclusions, in fact all mass media of the Russian-Chinese relations took a special place. But generally adopted in the West position expresses the following idea is accentuated by the German newspaper "Die Welt": "the meeting of the President of Russia Vladimir Putin and Chairman XI Jinping may lead to consequences in geopolitical and economic plans when something can be called historical" (see Von Christoph B. Schiltz. Putin schmiedet Bündnis ein sich antiwestliches / may 20, 2014).

It should be recognized that in Western political and expert circles meeting of Putin and XI Jinping called historical in two aspects. First, Russia and China, between which the last 100 years there were serious contradictions, strongly converging. Secondly, the world order shaped by the Euro-Atlantic countries, they may introduce new rules of the game. All this is in fact a serious test for the West. Undoubtedly, this can cause concern among those who claim to world leadership. But facts are facts and nobody can deny it.

All this, of course, in changing the geopolitical dynamics. But even more important is that the areas where the two leaders reached an agreement. The fact is that, according to some experts, in the way of strategic cooperation between Russia and China are some of the circumstances. Mark Adomanis writes: "...Now it has made Russia a big success, it made a fool of" (see: Mark Adomanis. The Russia-China Gas Deal Matters But Its Ultimate Significance Is Unclear / "Forbes", may 21, 2014).

The approach of the American magazine "Bloomberg Businessweek" to the gas contract between Moscow and Beijing even more interesting. This magazine asks the question: "the Gas deal for real-or just fumes?" (see: Matthew Philips. Is the Russia-China Gas Deal for Real – or Just Fumes? / may 21, 2014).

In this context, experts stress the fact that the ambitions of China are large, and therefore economically weaker Russia may be in the "minor partner". As an argument they point to the observed "between reality and rhetoric:" the contradictions in the relations of the two powers (see: Nikolas K. Gvosdev. Get Ready World: China and Russia Are Getting Closer / The National Interest, may 20, 2014).

Gas contract: the benefits and geopolitical contradictions

Obviously, in any case, in political and expert circles, the media are convinced that the visit of Russian President to China will have significant global and regional issues. Different assessment of the agreements once again confirms this statement. In this context, should elaborate a little on the gas contract as the main result of the visit.

According to official sources, the agreement is signed for 30 years. The volume is in the range of 400 billion US dollars. Gas to China should come from the Siberian deposits. For this to be built a new pipeline. Beijing pays a Deposit in the amount of 25 billion US dollars. The purchase of gas will start in 2018.

Note that Russian officials looked very happy when you gave information about the contract. But many experts say that this raises a lot of questions. First of all, China gets the opportunity to be more active in Siberia. According to senior research fellow the Oxford Institute for energy studies James Henderson, "China has a pretty strong card against Russia. The gas in East Siberia is stranded, and sell it to any other country, except China, had no chance" (see: Wayne Ma. Why China is Driving a Hard Bargain with Russia Over Gas / "The Wall Street Journal", may 19, 2014).

A more intriguing question raises edition of "Bloomberg Businessweek". An expert on Asian Economics Derek Scissors believes that the parties reached agreement only on the volume of gas. And the information provided by them about the price, very controversial: after all, if unknown what will be the price of gas a month later, how can it be adjusted? Officials say that in 30 years will change the price of thousands of cubic meters of gas. In this case, where does the 400 billion dollars?

From this, the experts make a conclusion that the signed agreement is actually formal. Question about price is not agreed. And the fact that the heads of Russia and China to behave as agreed, due to the geopolitical situation. Beijing wants to see the position of the Russian President at the meeting with B. Obama and A. Merkel durable. Leaders have to meet within the framework of G20.

However one subtle point. It is no coincidence that experts analyze primarily the gas issue. Cooperation in the energy sector has a direct impact on global geopolitics. The West is putting on Russia pressure on Ukraine. Sanctions against Moscow are growing. Experts believe that if the processes continue in this manner, the Kremlin may be in a very difficult situation. Vladimir Putin and tries to prevent such developments. Raising relations with China to a new level – a direct challenge to the West. Namely, Moscow demonstrates that the possibilities for maneuvering her wide. But there are two very subtle geopolitical factor.

First, the U.S. is closely monitoring the process. On the one hand, Washington is increasing its military capabilities in the Asia-Pacific. Beijing is greatly concerned about this. On the other hand, Washington pours oil on the fire of China's territorial disputes with neighbors. The recent anti-Chinese campaign in Vietnam, as well as Pyongyang's territorial ambitions were not accidental (see: Allen R. Carlson. China's Achilles' Heel in the South China Sea / "The National Interest", may 16, 2014). China's relations with Vietnam many experts call the "Achilles ' heel" (the weakest point) of Beijing in the South China sea. This may also include Japanese, Korean, Philippine, Singapore and Taiwan.

Not paralyzing if once such developments energy line, which would connect Russia and China? The answer to this question is unknown, as geopolitical West is always up to date. As you can see, Washington step-by-step takes the China in "geopolitical blockade".

Secondly, the interests of Russia and China in the Central Asia collide. On this occasion, the experts expressed sufficiently. Now China signed a document on strategic partnership with all countries in the region (see: Joshua Kucera. With Turkmenistan, China Now Has "Strategic Partnerships" With All Five Central Asian States / "EurasiaNet", may 13, 2014).

Moscow is not satisfied. Among other reasons also because the Chinese currency is more stable Russian ruble. The Kremlin is afraid that will not withstand competition. Relations between the two countries in the "Shanghai club", confirm this conclusion.

As can be seen, the Russian President's visit to China has historic significance. On the one hand, can change the rules of geopolitical game that existed for several centuries, on the other, contradictions between the two Eurasian great powers – Russia and China can receive new content. And it's hard to say exactly who it is profitable. Maybe from these developments will benefit the West? Maybe V. Putin's visit to China has a positive historical significance to the U.S. and Europe?


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