Russia and China have joined forces for the sake of energy consumption and have publicly announced their intentions to cooperate in energy saving, cutting hazardous emissions and in nanotechnologies. This industrial cooperation of scientists from both countries understandably frightens the rest of the world. For the European Union (EU) this alliance could mean a reduction in Russian gas supplies and for the US, closer energy ties could create an imbalance in the political clout of these two powerful nations.
According to Vladimir Paramonov, representing the Cross-Border Cooperation Association in the Republic of Uzbekistan:
“Russia is a major supplier of energy resources and, to some extent, technology, while China is a major consumer of energy resources, and this is what determines the high potential of the two countries’ cooperation.”
After the United States, China is the second largest consumer of energy in the world today and its total oil and gas consumption is expected to rise over the next few years. China has been prepared for this energy shortage for a long time. According to experts, even plans to reduce consumption by 20% per GDP (Gross Domestic Product) unit may not be sufficient and China has already turned its eyes to its Central Asian neighbors for help with necessary resources.
According to Konstantin Simonov, General Director of the Center for Political Studies, one of the major obstacles blocking this uneasy alliance lies deep within Russia itself. He said:
“Our political elite are divided over China. Some political groupings are not interested in reorienting Russia’s policy from the West to the East.”
Vladimir Paramonov added:
“Russia is also unhappy with the existing format of economic relations with China, including the fuel and energy sphere, where the scheme ‘raw materials from Russia in exchange for ready products from China’ is very humiliating for Moscow”
Many joint projects are waiting in the wings, including a glass factory in the Tomsk Region, a network of industrial parks in Russia and a joint venture in radio-electronics and telecommunication facilities.
Will they ever get off the ground?
Only time (and energy) will tell.