Russia eyes Mongolia as shortcut to China for supplying natural gas
Moscow [Russia]: Mongolia, land-locked between two countries -- Russia and China, could soon serve as an important transit country for Russian natural gas and its related supply chains, reported Asia Times.
Once completed, the Soyuz Vostok gas pipeline will become an extension of Russia's Power of Siberia 2 natural gas pipeline in Mongolian territory. In other words, this ambitious project is meant to provide supplies of Russian gas across Mongolia and into China.
Russia's state-owned energy giant Gazprom has already opened a subsidiary company called Gazoprovod Soyuz Vostok in Mongolia.
Recently, Mongolian Foreign Minister Battsetseg Batmunkh visited Moscow, where she met with Alexey Miller, chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee. It is unlikely a coincidence that Batmunkh's first foreign trip since her appointment was to Russia.
Prior to her visit to the Russian capital, two local General Intelligence Directorate officers in Ulaanbaatar were sentenced to 14 years in prison allegedly because they spied for Russia.
That action, however, did not apparently affect overall relations between Moscow and Mongolia.
In November, the two nations will mark a century of establishing diplomatic relations and have already signed a permanent treaty on friendly relations and lifted bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership, reported Asia Times.
According to the official document, Russia and Mongolia will undertake to develop cooperation in the spheres of politics, defence, economy, trade, finance and investment.
Meanwhile, in 2016, the three countries, China, Russia, Mongolia reached a comprehensive deal on developing the China-Mongolia-Russia (CMR) economic corridor.
At its core, the CMR corridor aims to improve transport connectivity and cross-border trade services through infrastructure development. It also aims to strengthen three-way cooperation across energy, agribusiness, communication technology, tourism and environmental protection.
Along with this, the construction of new railway lines in Mongolia is underway.
The Tavan-Tolgoi-Zuunbayan railway route is now being actively built, with completion expected in 2022. China will be the biggest beneficiary of this transport network given that Beijing is one of the biggest buyers of Mongolia's coal.
After China imposed a ban on the import of Australian coal, Beijing reportedly increased coal purchases from Mongolia as well as Russia and Indonesia.
Citing the reports, Asia Times reported that Mongolia's huge reserves of high-quality coal could be soon exported worldwide via the ports of the Russian Far East at Vladivostok and the Vostochny coal terminal. (ANI)