China’s renminbi – Russia’s lifeline and leash

Western sanctions have increased Beijing’s leverage over Moscow

From China’s perspective, the more Russia uses the renminbi, the better it is. PHOTO: REUTERS
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Russia and China will use whatever currency is “safe, efficient and credible” for their bilateral trade, said China’s new Foreign Minister Qin Gang at a press conference last week.

He was responding to a question on whether the two countries would drop the US dollar and euro. From the perspective of both countries, this currency is the Chinese renminbi (RMB). For China, Russia’s increasing use of the RMB is unambiguously positive. For Russia, though, the situation is far more complex.

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