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Russia is really scared of China

Anonymous Coward
User ID: 1282895
03/02/2011 11:12 PM
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Russia is really scared of China
[link to online.wsj.com]

Russia Fears China, Not Japan
The decades-long dispute over the Kuril Islands may well be Russia's way of focusing on its real long-term adversary: China.

More significantly, Messrs. Putin and Medvedev seem to be positioning Russia for the long term, and their ultimate goal may well be to deal with Chinese growth in the region. Both states know that Russia's sparsely populated Siberian Far East will become increasingly attractive to a militarily powerful China in search of vast amounts of raw materials and resources.

From timber to oil and gas, and even clean water, Siberia offers much that China will need in order to maintain not merely its economic growth, but some of the basic necessities of life in an industrialized nation. To give but one example, China's net imports of petroleum will more than quadruple by 2035, according to some estimates, to 14 million barrels per day; meanwhile, 65% of Russia's prospective petroleum reserves are located just north of China, in Siberia, along with 85% of the country's natural gas reserves.

Yet there are only about 25 million Russians in all of Siberia, an area of more than 9.6 million square kilometers stretching from the Urals to the Kamchatka Peninsula, giving a population density of less than three persons per square kilometer. Further east, the Far Eastern Federal District has a population of just seven million persons, or one person per square kilometer, while 100 million Chinese live in the provinces just across the border.

Officially, only 50,000 Chinese are resident in the Russian Far East, but Chinese merchants already control much of the trade there. From a geopolitical perspective, it is all but certain that Chinese influence in Siberia will grow as Russia's population shrinks, and future Chinese governments may well come to have a proprietary interest in the region.

Titor right again.