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Iran Press TV

Russia, China discuss ditching dollar, ink 30-year-old gas deal; warn West

Iran Press TV

Friday, 04 February 2022 11:37 AM

Russian and Chinese presidents have discussed shifting trade away from the dollar as they unveil a new gas deal, stressing that their strategic cooperation is "unshakeable" and warning the West to stop eastward expansion.

Meeting on the sidelines of the Beijing Winter Olympics, the two leaders in a show of solidarity stressed that their strategic cooperation was "unshakeable", warning the West to stop its eastward expansion.

The Kremlin said Putin and Xi discussed the need to broaden bilateral trade in national currencies owing to unpredictability surrounding the use of the dollar.

It comes after US President Joe Biden's threat that Russian companies could be cut off from the ability to trade in dollars as part of sweeping sanctions in the event of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

US and its Western allies accuse Moscow of military buildup near the Ukrainian border, alleging plans to invade the country. Russia, however, rejects the charges, saying the buildup is peaceful in nature.

Describing the meeting "warm and substantive," the Kremlin hailed the relationship between the two major powers as an advanced partnership with a special character.

In a lengthy joint statement, they opposed NATO expansion and accused the US of stoking instability in the region. The two sides also decried the military alliance's 'Cold War approach' to international affairs.

"Russia and China stand against attempts by external forces to undermine security and stability in their common adjacent regions," the 5,300-word joint statement released by the Kremlin said.

It noted that both nations "intend to counter interference by outside forces in the internal affairs of sovereign countries under any pretext, oppose color revolutions and will increase cooperation in the aforementioned areas."

Putin told his Chinese counterpart that the Chinese-Russian relationship had "taken on a truly unprecedented character."

"It is an example of a dignified relationship that helps each of us develop while supporting each other's development," he stressed, according to the statement.

The statement further said that "interconnectedness and interdependence of states" was increasing; a trend was being formed to "redistribute the balance of world power."

In a show of exemplary support, Moscow also backed Beijing's position regarding Chinese Taipei and opposed the territory's US-backed separation efforts from mainland China in any form.

China's Xi says Putin talks to revitalize ties

According to Chinese media, after his meeting with Putin, Xi said the talks "will inject more vitality into China-Russia relations."

Putin annoucned that Moscow has prepared a new deal to supply China with 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas from its Far East region, reports said.

Russia -- a major hydrocarbon exporter and already Beijing's No. 3 gas supplier -- has been enhancing its ties with China, the world's largest energy consumer.

"Our oilmen have prepared very good new solutions on hydrocarbon supplies to the People's Republic of China," Putin added during his meeting with Xi.

"And a step forward was made in the gas industry, I mean a new contract on supplying 10 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year to China from Russia's Far East," he added.

Russia sends gas to China via its Power of Siberia pipeline, which began pumping supplies in 2019, and by shipping liquefied natural gas (LNG). It exported 16.5 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas to China in 2021.

US warns China firms against evading anti-Russia bans

Washington on Thursday threatened Chinese companies with consequences if they try to evade any US-imposed export controls on Moscow as part of its planned anti-Russian sanctions in the event of Moscow's Ukraine invasion.

The warning came during remarks by US State Department Spokesman Ned Price in reaction to a statement by Beijing's foreign ministry that China and Russia had coordinated their positions on Ukraine in a meeting of their top diplomats in Beijing earlier in the day.

"We have an array of tools that we can deploy if we see foreign companies, including those in China, doing their best to backfill US export control actions, to evade them, to get around them," Price said during his regular press briefing.

Price further warned Moscow that a closer relationship with Beijing would not make up for repercussions suffered as the result of massive sanctions vowed by the US and its Western allies in case of Ukraine's invasion.

"If Russia thinks that it will be in a position ... to mitigate some of those consequences, by a closer relationship with (China), that is not the case," he insisted. "It will actually make the Russian economy, in many ways, more brittle."

His remarks came a day after White House national security official Peter Harrell stated that Washington was working on the export-control measures with allies in Asia, including Japan and South Korea.

Reacting to Price's remarks, the spokesman for China's embassy in Washington, Liu Pengyu, said "creating tensions does no good to easing the Ukraine crisis, but only adds more uncertainties to the region and the whole world. China is firmly opposed to this."

The development came a week after China's top envoy to the US warned of likely "military conflict" between the two major powers over persistent American efforts to urge officials of Taipei to seek independence from the Chinese mainland.

"The Taiwan issue is the biggest tinderbox between China and the United States," China's Ambassador to Washington Qin Gang said on January 27 during an interview with the US-based NPR radio station.

"If the Taiwanese authorities, emboldened by the United States, keep going down the road for independence, it most likely will involve China and the United States, the two big countries, in the military conflict," he emphasized

It came after Chinese President Xi Jinping warned last month that a confrontation between major world powers could only lead to catastrophic consequences and will not solve any problems.

Price also announced on Thursday that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi had an extended telephone discussion last week on potential implications of what Washington has widely advertised as a looming Russian action against neighboring Ukraine despite repeated denials by Moscow.

The Xi-Putin meeting and Washington's latest warning to Chinese firms against averting export controls against Russia comes as US officials claimed possessing new evidence of an alleged Russian false flag operation to invade Ukraine.

The influential US daily The Washington Post reported Thursday that the Biden Administration is set to reveal an alleged Russian plan whose details have been declassified by American intelligence, citing "people familiar with the matter."

According to the daily, the operation was designed by Russian security services and is in the advanced stages of preparation. The unnamed US officials reportedly claimed that Russia will falsely pin the attack, which could involve alleged casualties not only in eastern Ukraine but also in Russia, on Ukrainian forces.

The report followed recent remarks by the Russian president accusing the US and its allies of deliberately designing a scenario to lure Moscow into a war over Ukraine.

Russia reacted strongly to report of US plans to deploy thousands of troops to Eastern Europe and demanded that Washington halt escalating the tensions over Ukraine.

"It's obvious that these are not steps aimed at de-escalating tensions, but on the contrary they are actions that lead to increasing tension," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.

The US announced on Wednesday that it would deploy nearly 3,000 extra troops to Poland, Germany and Romania. The US has already placed 8,500 troops on heightened alert to prepare for deployment in Eastern Europe and bolster NATO's presence in the region.

"We constantly call on our American counterparts to stop aggravating tensions on the European continent. Unfortunately, the Americans continue to do so," Peskov emphasized.

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