“China is our strategic partner,” says Governor of Russian Arctic region

Local Nenets deer shepherd at their camp in tundra some 200 kilometers from Russia’s west-northern town of Naryan-Mar. (Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images)

At the same time as Communist Party leader Xi Jinping visited Moscow, a Chinese business delegation came to the far northern town of Naryan-Mar to discuss participation in Russian Arctic projects.

“It is very symbolic that your working visit takes place on the very same days as the government delegation of the Head of the Chinese People’s Republic is in Moscow for talks,” said Governor of the Nenets Autonomous Okrug Yuri Bezdudny in a welcome speech to his visitors.

“These discussions are a confirmation of the fact that China is our strategic partner,” Bezdudny underlined.

The Chinese delegation included representatives of a major engineering company that specialises in construction and infrastructure development in the oil and gas sector. The company has taken part in projects in the Russian Far East. Now, it is considering new projects in the Arctic, Bezdudny and his administration explains.

According to the Russian governor, the two sides discussed cooperation in regional “mega-projects.” Among the the projects specifically mentioned was a gas chemical plant built by a joint venture of Gazprom and Lukoil, as well as the Indiga Port and its connecting railway to Sosnogorsk.

The far northern Nenets Autonomous Okrug is rich in oil and resources. It is located along the coast of the Pechora Sea and houses major infrastructure objects like the Varandey oil terminal.

The Chinese businessmen reportedly offered the regional governor not only access to technology, but also engineering, material deliveries and equipment, as well as construction.

“It is really great that you are giving us such a chance [and] We are ready to cooperate in all stages of project development, from planning and construction to engineering,” the Chinese guests underlined.

The Arctic was on the agenda also in the meetings between Xi Jinping and the Russian leaders. In his talks with Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, the latter highlighted the two countries joint development of projects Yamal LNG and Arctic LNG 2. And in the subsequent meeting with Putin, the Chinese leader was offered participation in the development of the Northern Sea Route.

Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine and its subsequent isolation in international affairs has made Moscow highly dependent on Beijing. For the Chinese, the situation offers a unique opportunity to get access to the vast natural resources of the Russian North.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Trudeau says flying objects brought down over the past week may be linked, CBC News

Norway: Norway buys 54 Leopards for protection of the North, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Putin’s hope for Sarmat missile launch from Plesetsk failed, The Independent Barents Observer

SwedenNorway, Finland, Sweden prioritize North in updated statement, Eye on the Arctic

United States: U.S. Coast Guard talks Arctic at recent summit, Eye on the Arctic

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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