The war in Ukraine and the future of Russia-China relations
- NDC Policy Brief 08-2022: The war in Ukraine and the future of Russia-China relations , by Marcin Kaczmarski *
The China-US rivalry, observed since late 2017, has pushed Moscow and Beijing closer together, but it has not transformed their relationship. One reason is the persistent cautiousness of both states, another is Moscow’s lack of capabilities to offer genuine support to China in such areas as the economy, trade or technology. The official rhetoric, boasting about the relationship being “better than an alliance”, in reality hides real obstacles to a more substantial cooperation.
The first “post-pandemic” in-person meeting between Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping on 4 February 2022 seemed to have opened the new era in Sino-Russian relations. The joint communication was unusually ideologised, with both states claiming their democratic traditions. China offered support for Russia’s “legitimate security concerns” in Europe and opposed further NATO enlargement. Russia reciprocated by supporting China in Asia. The slogans of the relationship having “no limits” or no “red lines” dominated the post-summit narratives.
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* (back) Lecturer in Security Studies, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow.