In 2014, Beijing and Moscow signed a US$400 billion deal to deliver Russian gas to Chinese consumers. Construction of the Power of Siberia pipeline began last summer on the banks of the Amur river, known in Chinese as the Black Dragon river. It marks a rapprochement between two powers who have warily eyed each other across the frigid water of the Amur, which forms the border, for more than three centuries. According to Beijing’s man in Moscow, ‘China and Russia are together now like lips and teeth.’
In Black Dragon River, Dominic Ziegler attempts to explain how they got there. Following the 2,826-mile course of the Amur, the world’s ninth-longest river, the Economist’s Asia editor unravels the complex history of a vast region peopled largely by nomadic tribes but long dominated by the great empires of Mongolia, China and Russia.