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China increased crude oil imports from Russia in May by 54.84% compared to the previous year’s figures, according to data from the country’s General Administration of Customs.
In May this year, the Asian giant imported from the Slavic country a total of 8.41 million tons of crude oil, 2.98 million tons more than in the same period of 2021.
These data place Russia as the top oil supplier for China, thus displacing Saudi Arabia to the second position.
Beijing imported 7.81 million tons from the Arab country this May, an increase of 9% year-on-year.
In recent months, Chinese state-owned companies such as Sinopec and Zhenhua Oil have increased purchases of Russian oil attracted by heavy discounts after sanctions on Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine compromised its exports to Europe.
In February, Rosneft, a Russian government-owned company, and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) reached an agreement to supply 100 million tons of crude to China —via pipelines in Kazakhstan— over 10 years.
China called in early March for its “legitimate interests” to be respected and reiterated that it was “firmly” opposed to any kind of “unilateral sanctions” against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
Beijing, which opposed Western sanctions because it considers that they “don’t help to solve problems but to create new ones,” warned then that it was ready to maintain its economic exchanges with Moscow.
Last February 4, the Russian and Chinese leaders, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, welcomed after a Beijing meeting the arrival of “a new era” between the two countries.
According to Beijing, its relationship with Moscow is that of a “strategic partner,” but this does not include “neither alliance nor confrontation” nor “targeting other countries.”