Sino- Russia relations: present friendship and possibility of arising differences in future

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The writer is a columnist and independent researcher. He can be reached at

At present, China and Russia are moving closer to each other because of their convergence of interests. They are facing a common enemy, want peace in the region, are economically inter-dependent and have learnt from the experience of past conflict. However, there is a possibility of arising difference between them on a number of issues in a long run.

China and Russia see the US as a core competitor that is against their strategies and visions. There is no denying the fact that the Chinese development under its vision of Belt Road Initiative (BRI) is anathema to the US and the latter is trying hard to contain the growing influence of Beijing in the region. For this purpose, the US has indulged in trade war with China and is increasing its presence in the Asia-Pacific region by reviving its friendship with its old allies in the locality. Similarly, the US has berated Russia for its involvement in Syria, Ukraine and Crimea. Hence, China and Russia, under these threats, consider it good to be united against a common enemy.

Another factor driving China and Russia closer to each other is their common interest in the neighborhood. They value peace and stability to advance their economic ambitious. China wants peace in Asia, Europe and Africa to give practical shape to its BRI vision. Likewise, Russia prefers peace in Central Asian Countries to boost its trade there. It is, therefore, Russia is playing a crucial role to end an Afghan’s crisis because peace in Central Asia is linked to the stability in Afghanistan.

The fact that China and Russia are economically inter-dependent is also a prime reason for their growing friendship. Russia is rich in natural resources while China is advance in industries and technology. For that reason, Moscow will get an opportunity in China to sell its raw material. Equivalently, Beijing will also acquire its required resources from the neighboring country at a relatively cheap rate. Thus, the economic inter-dependency is playing a pivotal role in developing good friendly relations between them.

The both countries learnt from past hostility and conflict that it is not favorable for either of them. In 1969, they involved in seven-month conflict along the 2600km long border and got nothing but wasted their resources. That being the case, they learnt sufficient lesson and will not repeat the same mistake again.

Thirdly, beyond any doubt, China is turning advance in weapons manufacturing and it can affect the sell of Russian arms in the region.

 There is no dearth of opinions and viewpoints that their friendship is not sustainable in a long run and it based on the following possibility of arising differences between them in future:

Firstly, Chinese growing influence in Central Asian Countries (CARS) is a source of wariness for Russia. Already, trade between China and CARS has reached around $36 billion as compared to $18 billion with Russian. Besides, Chinese are migrating to Siberia. Russia fears that if they got nationality, it would lead to a loss of a territory in coming time because of population differences Experts believe that the Central Asia will be the flashing point of bringing Sino-Russian friendship to an end because Chinese growing influence there is against Russian interest.

Secondly, another reason for Russian anxiety is Chinese theft of its sensitive military technology including the Su-27 fighter jets. Chinese developed J-15 by copying the design of Russian jet Su-27. These jets are not only source of prestige for Russia, but also income. Hence, they may face differences over the issue of copying the military technology of Russia in near future.

Thirdly, beyond any doubt, China is turning advance in weapons manufacturing and it can affect the sell of Russian arms in the region. The growing influence of China in the region after its vision of Belt Road initiative has compounded this fear. In the time to come, China will occupy the arms market of Russia in Asia. Consequently, it will increase the chances of conflicts between China and Russia over this crucial issue.

Finally, the both countries will not extend the hand of support to each other during crisis. Beijing will not drag itself into a military confrontation with the US as a result of unintentional Russian missteps in the Middle East or Europe. In like manner, Moscow will not take side of China, if Beijing clashes with Russian economic partner such as Vietnam or India.

Thus, at present, China and Russia are enjoying good friendly relations owing to their convergence of interests. However, their cooperation may not last longer because of many upcoming differences However, The way they have cooperated, and conducted joint military exercises, it seems that they would resolve their differences through negotiation instead of turning against each other.  


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