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Putin wants to chummy up with China
With its economy a mess, and its relations with its Western neighbors in tatters, Russia is in dire need of new friends. So, its leader - Vladimir Putin - is looking east to China.
According to Reuters, Putin was at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok earlier this week trying the woo Asian investors in a bid to drum up cash for Russia's neglected Far East region.
“The possibilities in region,” Putin told Asian investors, “are enormous”. The Russian leader was touting the region - packed with natural resources, forestry and fish stocks - to delegates from Japan, South Korea, and, most importantly, China.
Its Putin’s hope that Russia’s Asian friends will help turn his country’s Far East - which takes of a third of its landmass - into a "profitable business center".
China is already throwing quite a bit of love Russia's way. Data from Rhodium, a China-focused research group, shows that China's direct investment into Russia totaled about $8.4 billion in 2014, up 10% from 2013. That’s almost half of the $18 billion China invested in the whole of Europe for the same period.
With its economy buffeted by cheap oil and western sanctions, resulting from its conflict in Ukraine, Russia really needs its Asian allies. But then again, anyone with even with a passing interest in the global economic affairs will know that China is having a few money problems of its own right now.
Photo: Donkey Hotey via Flickr