Russia and China have signed energy deals that could have a big economic and political impact in Asia. Three accords on oil and natural gas cooperation were signed by President Hu Jintao and President Vladimir Vladimir Putin during the Russian leader’s visit to Beijing.
Energy-hungry China has been pushing for an increase in oil and gas imports from its neighbour to supply ever-increasing industrial output. Late last year Putin signalled that diversifying exports of its resources was a top priority and that Asia was the main target. Under the plans Russian gas will by piped to east and west China, with first deliveries envisaged in around five years. But China has been mildly critical of what it regards as the slow pace of the development of new pipelines. The two leaders also discussed Iran’s nuclear programme, reaffirming their desire for more diplomacy to resolve the issue. Trade was also on the agenda. Officials said spurring commerce and investment are key goals of Putin’s visit. Looming in the background are the two powers’ tightening military and political ties – and a shared wariness over US domination of global politics.