The Future of China-Russia Relations

The Future of China-Russia Relations

The Future of China-Russia Relations

The Future of China-Russia Relations

Synopsis

Relations between China and Russia have evolved dramatically since their first diplomatic contact, particularly during the twentieth century. During the past decade China and Russia have made efforts to strengthen bilateral ties and improve cooperation on a number of diplomatic fronts. The People's Republic of China and the Russian Federation maintain exceptionally close and friendly relations, strong geopolitical and regional cooperation, and significant levels of trade. In The Future of China-Russia Relations, scholars from around the world explore the current state of the relationship between the two powers and assess the prospects for future cooperation and possible tensions in the new century. The contributors examine Russian and Chinese perspectives on a wide range of issues, including security, political relationships, economic interactions, and defense ties. This collection explores the energy courtship between the two nations and analyzes their interests and policies regarding Central Asia, the Korean Peninsula, and Taiwan.

Excerpt

In April 1996, Russian president Boris Yeltsin and his Chinese counterpart, Jiang Zemin, signed documentation formally establishing a “strategic partnership” between the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The formation of this partnership was the product of what Gilbert Rozman describes in this book as the “sustained upward trend” in bilateral relations and was symbolically significant in illustrating just how far these two nations had come in their ties with one another. A relationship based on economic dependence and military alliance that began in 1950 ultimately broke down over ideological disputes between Mao Zedong and Nikita Khrushchev, culminating in a messy divorce of the two Communist giants in 1960. Ties remained frosty for the next three decades before finally being normalized in 1989. In the intervening years, the Sino-Soviet relationship could best be characterized as one of minimal interactions and mutual hostility.

Today these ideological disputes of the past are a distant memory. Thirteen years after it was established, the Sino-Russian strategic partnership not only is alive but appears to be taking on some practical manifestations. During the first decade of the partnership, Russia became a major source of arms for the PRC, although sales have slowed in recent years. Bilateral trade volume, albeit small, is increasing and Russia has become a growing source of energy for China. The two cooperate on the development of China’s space program and civil aviation sector, and they have conducted joint military exercises under the auspices of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). China and Russia have similar views on a number of international and regional security issues and have worked together on occasions where their respective interests are aligned. In late 2008, the two nations finally resolved the last stretch of their long-standing border dispute, which had led to armed conflict in the past. The two states also created mechanisms for holding annual meetings between the countries’ presidents and prime ministers.

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