A promising direction for Sino-Russian cooperation is the Arctic.
Russia’s $27 billion gas project in the Arctic landmark starting in November 2017 and co-sponsored by French and Chinese companies, will ramp up Russia’s LNG deliveries to China. Russia is today one of the largest LNG producers in the world. Sino-Russian energy cooperation is poised to enter a new stage of long-term and strategic cooperation.
Deepening cooperation between Moscow and Beijing in the Arctic would provide additional geopolitical weight to both countries.
This cooperation has two components: One is China’s further participation in the development of the oil and gas sector, specifically with the second stage of the Yamal-LNG-1 plant. The second element is the modernization of port infrastructure along the Northern Sea Route. In 2018, China has launched its first domestically built icebreaking vessel named Xuelong 2, reflecting its determination to strengthen its research and exploration in the Arctic region.
China is becoming an increasing important player in the development of the Northern Sea Route (NSR) from Northern Europe to East Asia via the Arctic. Connecting China’s Belt and Road Initiative with shipping routes in the Arctic and Russia’s NSR project is not a new idea but efforts in this direction have moved quite slowly. Now both countries promote infrastructure cooperation within the Arctic Circle, such as ports and railways.
Russia’s Crimea becoming part of China’s new Silk Road
Private businesses in China are interested in involving Russia’s Crimea in the implementation of projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The new plans were released in 2019 to renew cooperation between Crimea and southern China’s Hainan province, as well as between such cities as Yalta and Sanya or Sevastopol and Dalian. Crimea has been under US and European heavy sanctions since 2014.
De-dollarization is the key joint strategic scheme of China-Russia in economic cooperation aiming to dethrone the status of US dollar as a reserve currency. This important issue is described in details in “Key drivers of economic capabilities”.