China is gaining an edge in energy deals with Russia as Moscow faces sanctions pressure from the conflict in Ukraine.
The latest energy accords announced in Beijing on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit suggest that China is increasing its access to Russian resources while resisting demands for more favorable financial terms.
At a signing ceremony on November 9, Presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin sealed a memorandum of understanding for a second Siberian gas pipeline on a western route that Russia has promoted unsuccessfully for years.
The preliminary commitment to the project known as the Altai pipeline, named for a remote Russian border region, follows an agreement in May on an eastern Siberian gas line to supply China’s coastal cities and industrial northeast. Continue reading
China plans a $16.3bn fund to finance construction of infrastructure linking its markets to three continents as President Xi Jinping pushes forward with his plans to revive the centuries-old Silk Road trading route.
The fund, overseen by Chinese policy banks, will be used to build and expand railways, roads and pipelines in Chinese provinces that are part of the strategy to facilitate trade over land and shipping routes, according to government officials who participated in drafting the plan.
More policies will be rolled out soon to encourage Chinese lenders to finance infrastructure in countries along the route connecting China to Europe, said the officials. They asked not to be identified as they weren’t authorised to speak publicly about the plans. Chinese companies will also be urged to invest in the countries and bid for contracts, the officials said. Continue reading
The flood of North American crude oil is set to become a deluge as Mexico dismantles a 75-year-old barrier to foreign investment in its oilfields.
Plagued by almost a decade of slumping output that has degraded Mexico’s take from a $100-a-barrel oil market, President Enrique Pena Nieto is seeking an end to the state monopoly over one of the biggest crude resources in the Western Hemisphere. The doubling in Mexican oil output that Citigroup Inc. said may result from inviting international explorers to drill would be equivalent to adding another Nigeria to world supply, or about 2.5 million barrels a day. Continue reading
Experts say changes could lead to social strife, sectarian conflict
Experts said Wednesday that a myriad of demographic, social, and economic problems could transform Russia into a virtually unrecognizable country in just a couple of decades that is more harmful to U.S. and Western interests.
As Russia’s native population shrinks, incorporates more Muslim immigrants, and remains tightly controlled by President Vladimir Putin, it risks social strife and sectarian conflict, said Ilan Berman, vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council and a former CIA and Department of Defense consultant, during a panel event at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
The country’s shrinking population is largely a result of declining fertility, high mortality rates, a surge in divorce rates and abortions, an AIDS “epidemic” stemming from rampant heroin use, and emigration, said Berman, author of the new book, Implosion: The End of Russia and What it Means for America. Continue reading
A partial unification of Asia begins, under the Chinese umbrella.
KUNMING – China is looking to revive the ancient “Southern Silk Road” linking its southwestern regions with Southeast and South Asia, as it aims to boost cooperation with countries along the once-booming trade route.
China has had trade, religious and cultural exchanges with South Asian countries by way of the “Southern Silk Road” since ancient times, Dilip Barua, Minister for Industries of Bangladesh, said at the ongoing 8th China-South Asia Business Forum in Kunming, capital of southwest China’s Yunnan province.
With a history of more than 2,000 years, the ancient trade route, stretching over 2,000 kilometers long, was dubbed the “Southern Silk Road” by historians. Continue reading
Following up on the request Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi made in mid-September, on Wednesday the European Union approved a $6.4 billion (5 billion euro) aid package for Egypt.
Morsi said in a statement that the deal is “a strong sign of the EU’s support for Egypt’s path to development.”
Two billion euros will come from the European Investment bank, and another two billion from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the BBC said. The rest will be provided by EU member states. Continue reading