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China-Russia relations since Ukraine war



  Apr 03, 2024

China-Russia relations since Ukraine war



Q: How has the Ukraine war impacted China-Russia relations?

A: The Ukraine war has pushed China and Russia into a closer partnership, but it has also highlighted potential sources of tension:

Strategic Alignment: The war and subsequent Western sanctions on Russia have reinforced a shared view of the West as an adversary. Both China and Russia seek to challenge US dominance and influence in the global order. NATO expansion is seen by both as a significant security threat.

Economic Lifeline: With trade routes to the West severed, China has become Russia's economic lifeline. They're purchasing discounted Russian oil and gas, and Russia relies on Chinese imports to replace Western goods.

China's Measured Support: China hasn't fully endorsed Russia's invasion. Beijing is walking a fine line – it values the relationship with Russia but is wary of potential economic blowback and reputational damage from aligning too closely with the aggression in Ukraine.

Q: Are China and Russia allies?

A: China and Russia aren't formal allies, but the war has solidified a "strategic partnership." This closeness stems from converging interests in challenging the US-led global order. However, China values its own strategic independence and may avoid actions that fully tie it to Russia's path.

Q: How has trade between China and Russia changed?

A: Trade has increased significantly as a direct result of the war:

Sanctions Push Russia Eastward: Facing isolation from the West, Russia depends on China to replace imports it once sourced from Europe and the US. This offers lucrative opportunities for Chinese businesses.

China Reaps Discounted Energy: Russia sells oil and gas to China at a deep discount to secure reliable buyers. China benefits from a steady source of energy at a competitive price.

Q: What's the impact of NATO expansion on China-Russia relations?

A: NATO's eastward expansion is a major point of agreement between China and Russia.

Shared Security Concerns: Both nations perceive NATO's expansion as a direct security threat. This fuels a sense of shared encirclement that further pushes the two countries together strategically.

Anti-West Narrative: China and Russia leverage NATO expansion in their messaging against the US-led global order. They portray it as evidence of Western aggression and a justification for closer cooperation between themselves.

Q: What are the long-term implications for China-Russia relations?

A: The war's long-term effects on the relationship are still uncertain. These factors will play a role:

War's Outcome: A long, protracted conflict in Ukraine could put pressure on China, as their economic ties to Russia create risks of secondary sanctions and damage to their relationships with the West.

NATO's Response: Further NATO strengthening or expansion would likely reinforce China's perception of a shared threat with Russia, solidifying their cooperation.

US-China Dynamics: Escalating US-China tensions could make Beijing more reliant on its partnership with Russia, outweighing any hesitation about the war.



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