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The China-Russia Gas Deal: Background and Implications for the Broader Relationship


On May 21, China signed a 30-year, $400 billion gas supply deal with Russia. The agreement concluded a decade of protracted negotiations, and coincided with an escalation of the Ukraine crisis in Europe. This paper examines the conditions, motives, and implications of the deal. It begins by looking at China’s energy needs and gas import strategy, as well as Russia’s Asia pivot. It then analyzes the key points of contention – the price, shipping route, and payment and investment conditions – and whether or not these were resolved in China’s favor. Section 3 places the deal in the context of Sino-Russian relations, in terms of geopolitics, economic ties, and a maturing energy partnership. The paper closes with implications for the United States, Europe, and Japan.