China

China media: Russia gas deal

  • 22 May 2014
  • From the section China
Vladimir Putin (left) and Xi Jinping
Vladimir Putin (left) and Xi Jinping are working to improve ties

Papers welcome a multi-billion dollar gas deal with Russia, amid praise for President Xi Jinping's call to reject outside interference in Asia.

Russian energy giant Gazprom reached a last-minute deal with China National Petroleum Corp on Wednesday in President Vladimir Putin's presence in Shanghai.

The Xinhua News Agency sees the deal as "another important result of China and Russia strengthening their relations as comprehensive energy partners".

The agreement comes after several rounds of negotiations in the past decade.

An editorial in the Global Times' Chinese edition says the delay in signing the gas deal shows that both China and Russia understood each other's concerns.

The paper also defends the two firms' decision to not disclose any official price for the deal.

"To say whether the price is 'expensive' or 'cheap' will satisfy one side but upset the other. Maintaining ambiguity will help maintain a good social effect of the signing," the editorial says.

The Beijing News notes that China had an overall advantage in the negotiations because of Moscow's urgent need to find an alternative market as the EU plans to reduce its dependency on Russian natural gas.

Financial paper Caixin also notes that China has a diverse portfolio of energy suppliers and that allowed it to "be more at ease" in the negotiations.

Some papers are also analysing the impact of the deal on the world currency market.

A commentary in the Beijing Youth Daily says the deal will probably encourage more countries to not trade in US dollars if China and Russia decide to switch to clearing payments in Russian roubles and the yuan.

"The world economy and finance will then embark on a process to get rid of the US dollar, and the dominance of the dollar will gradually lose its support. The US will then face more challenges in its ability to control global economics and politics," it says.

Asia summit

Some Hong Kong papers, however, have raised questions over the deal. The Oriental Daily doubts whether China can truly buy Russia's friendship.

"From Beijing's perspective, giving money away to the enemy's enemies has become a political wisdom that it thinks is brilliant. The problem is that Beijing will run out of money someday. If it has no more money to give away, will Russia still come to China's aid?" it questions.

The gas deal was signed on the sidelines of the Conference on Interactions and Confidence-building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Shanghai.

On the last day of the summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping talked about the importance of not allowing "third parties" to get involved in Asian matters.

Supporting Mr Xi's remarks, a commentary in The Beijing Times adds that his speech should not be viewed as a no-entry sign for other nations. It adds that other nations can still play a crucial role in the continent's development, but Asian matters should be resolved by Asian countries.

Su Hao, the director of Asia-Pacific Research Centre at China Foreign Affairs University, tells the Global Times' English edition that some Asian countries may not answer Mr Xi's call.

"For them, Washington's presence in the region serves as a counterbalance to China," Mr Su adds.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. For more reports from BBC Monitoring, click here. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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