Russia-China Tensions Over Power of Siberia 2 Pipeline Lead to High-Level Diplomatic Talks

Written by Henrik Rothen

Feb.07 - 2024 1:45 PM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com
Russia-China Tensions Over Power of Siberia 2 Pipeline Lead to High-Level Diplomatic Talks.

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In recent developments, Russia has been navigating through heightened tensions with Western countries, leading to a strategic pivot towards enhancing its relationships within the Eastern bloc, notably with China.

This shift has been underscored by economic sanctions and an oil embargo imposed by the West, compelling Russia to seek closer ties with Beijing. However, this budding partnership has encountered its challenges, as reported by Chinese media outlet Sohu according to AB News, highlighting a specific dispute necessitating diplomatic intervention.

Diplomatic Efforts to Resolve Disagreements

The crux of the matter revolves around the proposed construction of the Power of Siberia 2 gas pipeline, a project symbolizing the energy collaboration between Moscow and Beijing. A recent announcement by Mongolian Prime Minister Luvsannamsrain Oyun-Erdene indicated potential delays in the pipeline's construction due to unresolved issues between Russia and China.

These developments prompted speculation about Beijing's commitment to the project, with rumors suggesting a potential pivot towards other gas suppliers.

In response to these tensions and to quell any uncertainties, China dispatched a high-level delegation to Moscow, led by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ma Zhaoxu. This move aimed to directly address the concerns and reaffirm China's interest in the Power of Siberia 2 project.

During the visit, Ma Zhaoxu met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss bilateral relations, international matters, and cooperation within the BRICS consortium, with a particular focus on the gas pipeline project.

The Heart of the Matter: Pricing Disputes

The discussions in Moscow brought to light the underlying issues casting a shadow over the Power of Siberia 2 project. One significant point of contention is the pricing of the gas to be supplied through the pipeline.

Russia is reportedly hesitant to offer the gas at prices significantly lower than the market rate, while China is advocating for substantial discounts.

This disagreement has necessitated diplomatic efforts to ensure that such disputes do not adversely impact the overall relationship between Russia and China.

Moving Forward

The urgency and high level of the Chinese delegation's visit to Moscow underscore the importance of the Power of Siberia 2 project to both nations and their desire to maintain strong bilateral relations despite economic and strategic challenges.

As both countries navigate these complex negotiations, the international community watches closely to see how these developments will influence the broader geopolitical landscape, especially in terms of energy supply and security in the region.

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