MOSCOW – Japan hopes the Russian government will decide by December whether it will choose China or Japan as the primary buyer of Siberian oil, according to Assistant Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Shotaro Yachi.
That is when Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov is scheduled to visit Japan.
Yachi, in Moscow for talks on long-term overall ties between the two countries, said Wednesday he raised the pipeline issue in separate meetings with Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov and other high-ranking officials.
The decision involves building an overland oil pipeline across Siberia for oil shipments. Japan wants a pipeline that links Siberian oil fields to the nearest Russian port to Japan, while the Chinese want the pipeline to go to China.
Japan has proposed building a 3,700-km pipeline to carry crude from Angarsk near Lake Baikal in Siberia to Nakhodka on the Sea of Japan.
China proposed linking Angarsk and Daqing, an inland city in Heilongjiang Province, about halfway between Angarsk and Nakhodka.
Yachi said he has “a feeling” that the Russian government is considering first building a pipeline to Nakhodka.
Moscow had indicated it was leaning toward the Chinese position, but recent Russian media reports said the government will put off the route decision until next August.
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