The US of course, either oblivious or too arrogant to care, has continued to bring Russia and China together by annoying both equally with its incessant meddling. Recall that recently both China and Russia have had to warn the US about its insistence on flying reconnaissance planes too close to their borders.
Of course, as the US has been playing geopolitical games, China and Russia have been working on strengthening their relationship with one another. At the end of 2015, China had become Russia's biggest oil customer, and as of April, Russian oil shipments to China hit a record high. Russia has also surpassed Saudi Arabia as the biggest crude exporter to China.
Russia Today has more
Beijing has ramped up imports of Russian oil by 52.4 percent last month compared to a year earlier. China's General Administration of Customs calculated a record 4.81 million tons.
In March, China bought 4.65 million tons of oil from Russia.
Russia, Saudi Arabia and Angola were China’s three major oil suppliers last month.
April imports from Saudi Arabia fell by 22 percent year-on-year to 4.12 million tons. In March, China imported 3.98 million tons of oil from the country.
China increased year-on-year oil imports from Angola last month by 39 percent to 3.98 million tons. Imports from Iran in April fell by 5.1 percent yoy to 2.76 million tons.
An International Energy Agency report showed that at the end of 2015 Russia overtook Saudi Arabia as the biggest crude exporter to China.
Russian exports to China have doubled over the past five years, and supply is expected to continue to be strong. Transneft's Vice-President Sergey Andropov said that China is expected to import 27 million tons of Russian crude this year via the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) pipeline. The volume underscores the significance of contracts signed in 2009 by Rosneft, Transneft, and China National Petroleum Corporation to have Russia supply oil to China through the ESPO.
Russian exports to China have more than doubled over the past five years, up by 550,000 barrels a day. Moscow and Beijing have significantly increased energy cooperation, with a wide range of multibillion dollar projects.
Russian oil transport monopoly Transneft’s Vice-President Sergey Andropov said in March that China is ready to import 27 million tons of Russian crude this year via the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) pipeline. Supplies to China through the ESPO pipeline started in 2011 after Rosneft, Transneft and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) signed contracts two years earlier. Currently five million tons of crude are supplied through the pipeline annually, and this is expected to rise to 15 million tons a year.
Experts say Chinese imports of Russian oil are likely to stay high over the coming years due to long-term crude supply contracts and rising demand from the world's second biggest oil consumer.
* * *
There is an underlying theme here that cannot be ignored.
Whatever the US has been focusing on, whether it's commissioning $4.4 billion warships, wargaming in the name of "regional stability", or arguing over LGBT rights and confederate flags, it is neither productive, nor helping its global economic standing. One day when the USD is no longer the reserve currency, and all of the games the Federal Reserve plays to allow fiscal policy to go unchecked are no longer an option, we suspect that it will wish it had done things quite differently.