Putin arrives in Beijing for Winter Olympics with gas supply deal for China

BEIJING, Feb 4 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Beijing on Friday for the 2022 Winter Olympics and a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, bringing with him a deal to boost natural gas supplies of China in a context of growing tension with the West.

Putin told Xi that Russia had prepared a new deal to supply China with an additional 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas, according to a broadcast of their talks broadcast in Moscow.

Russia, one of the world’s leading hydrocarbon suppliers, has strengthened ties with China, the world’s largest energy consumer, amid Moscow’s standoff with the West over the Ukraine and other issues.

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The program broadcast in Moscow showed Xi and Putin, neither wearing a mask, sitting opposite each other on a large table at a guesthouse in Beijing state, surrounded by masked assistants.

“I would like to thank you for the invitation to the opening of the Olympics,” Putin told Xi. “We know firsthand that it’s a huge job. I’m sure our Chinese friends did it brilliantly, as you always do when preparing for such important events.”

Xi said the meeting had breathed new life into the relationship, according to the report.

The Olympics, already transformed by the coronavirus pandemic and to be held in a strictly closed circuit, have also been overshadowed by the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The United States and some of its allies have announced a diplomatic boycott of the Games to protest China’s human rights record. China denies any abuse.

Earlier, Chinese state television footage showed a plane flying with the Russian and Chinese flags. Next to them were jets with Mongolian and Serbian flags. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Prime Minister L. Oyun-Erdene of Mongolia are expected to attend the opening ceremony later Friday.

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and the Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, also landed, according to state media.

Russia and China coordinated their positions on Ukraine during a meeting between their foreign ministers, Wang Yi and Sergey Lavrov, on Thursday in Beijing, the Chinese foreign ministry said.

In response, the United States warned Chinese companies that they would face consequences if they sought to evade export controls imposed on Russia in the event of an invasion of Ukraine.

“We have an array of tools that we can deploy if we see foreign companies, including those in China, doing their best to thwart U.S. export controls, to evade them, to get around them,” he said. US State Department spokesman Ned Price. regular press briefings.

Prior to Lavrov, Beijing had not received foreign political guests for nearly two years as it tried to keep the coronavirus out.

Thousands of Russian troops have massed near the Ukrainian border, raising fears of an invasion, which Russia denies planning. Russia has asked NATO to prevent Ukraine from joining and withdrawing from Eastern Europe.

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Reporting by Chen Aizhu in Singapore and Gabriel Crossley in Beijing; Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin and Oksana Kobzeva in Moscow; edited by Leela de Kretser, Shri Navaratnam, Robert Birsel

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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