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Russian-China gas deal near, boosting relations: Putin(2)

(Shanghai Daily)

07:57, October 12, 2011

"Our goal is to diversify our economic ties," Putin told reporters. "I think that everyone will agree that compared with the known difficulties in the global economy, this aspect of the Russian-Chinese relationship (growing trade) has a stabilizing impact."

An agreement on Russia's gas deliveries to China would boost Moscow's efforts to reduce its export dependency on the European market. But Moscow and Beijing have haggled for five years over the commercial settings for the deal.

Russia aims to supply China with 68 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas - compared with up to 155 bcm it will supply Europe this year - starting in 2015, but differences over pricing have been a major stumbling block after an outline agreement was announced back 2006.

Earlier, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said there had been "significant" progress in the gas talks with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan yesterday.

"We have agreed that within the next two weeks we will outline a road map which will include a demand analysis, sources of supplies, the place of Gazprom in the structure of supplies," he told reporters, referring to the Russian company set to supply the gas.

Before his talks with Wen in the Great Hall of People, Putin said: "Our talks are taking place in a business-like atmosphere, with the mutual desire to find compromise on difficult questions which inevitably arise given the sheer volume of our relationship."

"Those who sell always want to sell at a higher price, while those who buy want to buy at a lower price. We need to reach a compromise which will satisfy both sides," Putin added in remarks made at the start of his talks with Wen that reporters were allowed to see.

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