China-Russia Trade and Energy Partnership Flourishes Amid Global Sanctions

China-Russia Trade and Energy Partnership Flourishes Amid Global Sanctions

Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing this week. This will be Putin's second visit to China in seven months and the fourth meeting between the two leaders since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

During this period, Beijing has emerged as a crucial partner for Moscow, helping to mitigate the impact of sanctions imposed by the US and other countries. While China denies supplying arms directly to Russia for use in Ukraine, there are allegations that China is indirectly supporting Russia's military efforts by providing critical components and materials.

The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently stated that China is not providing actual arms to Russia but is supplying essential components used in Russia's efforts to ramp up military production, such as machine tools and microelectronics.

Despite denials, China's trade with Russia has significantly expanded, with bilateral trade reaching a record $240 billion in 2023, representing a 64% increase since 2021. This trade includes a wide range of goods and materials, with China becoming a major supplier of cars, clothing, and raw materials to Russia.

Additionally, China has become the top buyer of Russian crude oil, surpassing Saudi Arabia in 2023, with imports reaching 107 million tonnes, a 24% increase from the previous year. China has also increased imports of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) from Russia.

The two countries are further strengthening their energy ties, planning to expand with a new pipeline called the Power of Siberia 2, which will export natural gas from Russia's western Siberia to northeastern China. China's energy purchases from Russia have played a significant role in offsetting the decline in Russia's energy sales to Western markets due to sanctions.

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