tirsdag 22. juni 2021

Good China-Russia Relations Are Here to Stay

In recent years, China-Russia relations have been frequently described as having attained an “unprecedentedly high level.” Typically, these pronouncements come from the very top of the political hierarchy in both countries. For instance, during a phone call in late December China’s President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, praised the comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation between the two countries, which they assessed to be at “the highest level in history.” 

Similarly, the respective foreign ministers, Wang Yi and Sergey Lavrov, recently spoke and underscored the steady development of mutual ties between the two countries, despite the pandemic disruption. This year the two countries celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Treaty of Good-neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation, which became one of the central cornerstones of their improved ties in the post-Cold War period.

Regardless of this positive rhetoric, some scholars and commentators point out the shortcomings and problems incumbent in Sino-Russian ties. For instance, University of Glasgow scholar Dr. Marcin Kaczmarski argues that the relationship is not set in stone. While, there are important areas of convergence – a shared vision of the multipolar world and centrality of the U.N., among others – their different positions in the international system impact their expectations and behavior. As a potential superpower whose economic growth depends on globalization, China is much more interested in stability than Russia, which sometimes benefits by openly challenging the West.