A senior Chinese official has called for new gas pipelines with Russia, as Putin suffers from the impact of sanctions. Heilongjiang, a northeast Chinese province that borders Russia, wants deeper energy ties with its neighbour. Xu Qin, Communist Party chief of the border province, has called for the construction of new branching gas pipelines to be sped up, and for the upcoming China-Russia east route natural gas pipeline to be secured.
Official Chinese news sources reported Mr Xu saying: “[We should] deepen practical energy cooperation between China and Russia, speed up the all-round opening up to Russia and make new contributions to ensuring national energy security and serving China-Russia strategic coordination.”
These comments were made as the official visited a gas transmission city in the provincial city of Heihe, which is on the border of Russia’s far east region.
Since Putin invaded Ukraine, Russia has been hit with a series of sanctions that have crippled the country’s economy.
Now, to evade western sanctions, Putin is looking eastwards to China to sell its gas and construct more energy pipelines.
Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping are looking to increase their gas trade exponentially with the development of three gas pipelines that will flow from Russia to China.
The two countries already have a gas pipeline in place – The Power of Siberia pipeline.
China is the world’s fastest-growing gas market, with the nation’s total natural gas imports increasing by 19.9 percent in the past year, with pipeline gas imports rising more than 22 percent year-on-year.
In the past year, China’s natural gas imports from Russia rose by a massive 50.5 percent, as the two countries deepen ties.
READ MORE: Russia turns east: Three countries undermine West sanction with Putin
Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported Xi as saying: “State-to-state relations cannot go to the stage of military hostilities.
“Peace and security are the most valued treasures of the international community.
“The Ukraine crisis is something that we don’t want to see.”
But the US was also keen to stress that if China began helping Russia, there would be “consequences”.
China, an ally of Putin, has taken an ambiguous stance on his invasion of Ukraine.
Beijing has declined to condemn the Russian leader – who met the Chinese head of state before the war began – but has stressed it wishes to help broker a lasting peace.