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"Why doesn't Russia just sell more oil and gas to China since they are two of the world's largest exporters and importers, respectively? Russia would mitigate Western sanctions and China would rely less on sources that are politically unstable."

Perhaps China wants to diversify its petroleum sourcing. Perhaps it needs more oil than can easily be supplied by Russia or perhaps it gets the oil at a better price.

But, most significantly, China wants to consolidate its grip on Asia, of which Iran is an important part. At the same time China greatly increases its presence in the Indian Ocean  and South Asia. China has a port facility in Columbo, Sri Lanka and has docked both nuclear and diesel submarines there. It has established a naval port in Djabouti and may be planning one in Pakistan,

Given its strategic placement, Sri Lanka is fast becoming the pivot of rising Chinese naval presence in the IOR, in that, China also has a substantial controlling stake in the Hambantota port, with Colombo agreeing to grant Chinese state-owned companies operating rights to as many as four berths in exchange for an easing of loan conditions. Besides, there are unconfirmed reports of construction of a Chinese-run aircraft maintenance facility near Hambantota in order to service PLAAF assets based in Sri Lanka. In neighbouring Pakistan, the docking of a Chinese submarine in Karachi, following the handing over of the port's operational control to China Overseas port Holdings is another step towards consolidating Chinese permanent naval presence in South Asia.

These developments, significantly, are in sync with China's much pronounced Maritime Silk Route strategy -- a prominent feature of the upcoming 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020). The maritime route is a proposed sea network of ports, coastal infrastructure projects beginning in Quanzhou in the Fujian province and culminating in the northern Mediterranean Sea. By virtue of this fresh strategy, Beijing seeks to gain greater access to the strategic pathways of the Indian Ocean, alleviated access to the Gulf oil -- which consequently shall reduce its dependence on the passage through the Straits of Malacca -- a key potential vulnerability for China in the event of a future conflict.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Aug 25th, 2019 at 03:34:05 AM EST
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