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Gas Deal: Why China Keeps Pulling the Rug on Putin’s Pipeline

Jun 13, 2023

Beijing can afford to keep Moscow guessing about a gas pipeline deal. But Russia has few alternatives.

No deal yet.

It’s normally grim work following meetings between authoritarian leaders boasting of their growing power and influence. But watching Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping negotiate over Russia’s biggest gas export project has a surprisingly comic edge.

Each time the Russian and Chinese presidents meet, Putin drops hints that the Power of Siberia 2 pipeline — which would send a Nordstream 2-sized 55 billion cubic meters of gas to northern China via Mongolia — is on the verge of being approved. Each time, Beijing holds off from signing.