China-Russia gas deal “solves both their problems”

A “historic” gas supply deal between Russia and China solves both their problems say academics. Speaking to journalists after the signing yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin described the deal as […]

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By Vicky Ellis

A “historic” gas supply deal between Russia and China solves both their problems say academics.

Speaking to journalists after the signing yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin described the deal as “satisfying” for all sides.

Professor Mark Harrison at the University of Warwick’s Department of Economics agreed there were benefits for both sides.

He said: “For China it solves an energy problem. For Russia, it solves a market problem: Russia needs to sell its energy sources somewhere but has spoiled its traditional market among the European democracies to Russia’s south and west by applying economic and military coercion to Ukraine.”

This doesn’t mean relations between the two are free and easy though.

Prof Harrison added: “Ultimately the governments of these two countries see each other as rivals in the global balance of power.

“China’s population and wealth are rising faster than Russia’s; Russia remains an Asian power, but the balance of power in Asia is moving steadily against Russia. Smiles around the table in Beijing do not betoken true affinity.”