China and Russia have been in a honeymoon of sorts since last year, when the two countries signed deals on natural gas and currency exchange, and when they conducted a joint military exercise in the East China Sea. Senior leaders from the two sides will continue to meet often this year but it remains to be seen whether the personal friendship between Putin and President Xi Jinping of China will elevate the two countries’ bilateral relationship to the level of strategic partners.
The crisis over Russian intervention in Ukraine and subsequent economic sanctions on Moscow have deepened and broadened Sino-Russian cooperation in the areas of international politics, economy, defense, energy, investment, culture and technology. The value of bilateral trade has reached US$100 billion and is expected to top US$200 billion in five years.
As indicated in Putin’s state of the federation address at the end of 2014, Russia has adopted three major strategies as part of its efforts to regain its status as a superpower: form alliances with neighboring countries while strengthening defense against potential rivals; embrace European nations and counter American influence; and return to the Asia-Pacific region.
Moscow’s policy of going eastward and Beijing’s open-door policy have now shown signs of a strategic convergence, which creates a historic opportunity for the two countries to follow a common development path. Beijing firmly believes that the strategic planning surrounding its “Belt and Road” initiative can both contribute to Russia’s development of its Far Eastern region and lay the foundation for a comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.
Full article: World order redrawn as new rivalry forms among China, Russia, US (Want China Times)