Russia and China: the enemy of my enemy is my friend

In the new world, China and Russia are increasingly United against the United States, developing cooperation in new spheres. But how long will this uneven cooperation — that is how the question is asked Sofia Svensson from king’s College in London.

China and Russia often occupy the same position in the UN security Council. Both countries used their veto right on February 28, to prevent the imposition of sanctions against Syria. Not the first time they blocked a resolution on the war in Syria — Russia has made it for the seventh time, and China — in the sixth. March 1, they also announced that it has decided to intensify joint opposition to missile defense in South Korea.

Also China and Russia are increasingly cooperating in the field of strategic issues related to the military sector, energy and infrastructure. The war in Ukraine and the ensuing sanctions even more closer to China and Russia, as Russia had to support its economy, and China saw this as an opportunity to access the Russian natural resources and infrastructure projects.

But whether it is strong and equal whether the relationship? And whether this rapprochement between Russia and China to cause concern?

These powerful powers began to converge even after the end of the cold war, very carefully after the Sino-Soviet split that lasted from 1965 to 1989. After that, China and Russia to reassess many of their positions, finding that they can begin strategic cooperation on certain issues.

They share a common anti-American stance and advocate a multi-polar world instead of where in the international system dominated by the United States. Although there are those who speak not in favor of a strong convergence of two such structurally different societies and cultures, the war in Ukraine — first of all, has become the basis for closer cooperation.

The war in the Ukraine, subsequent sanctions and low oil prices led to the fact that Russia appealed to China to support its economy. By the end of 2009, China was the largest trading partner of Russia, and continues to be, according to the report of the European Council on foreign relations.

Even if China in the short term and will not be able to replace Russia in trade with the EU in the energy sector, the Chinese market gave Putin the life-giving breath of air that undermines Western sanctions. The informal ban on the participation of China in tenders for the construction of large infrastructure projects, which operated in Russia for the last fifteen years, was canceled in may 2014 in connection with the invasion of Ukraine, and gave China access to Russian natural resources and contracts for infrastructure.

While that is almost equal relations: Russia afloat, and China is gaining important resources that will increase his chances in the confrontation with the West. But experts, such as Dmitry Trenin of the Moscow Carnegie center, believes that this cooperation is not too equal: the representatives of China speak about Russia as a “Junior companion,” and Russia risks to become dependent on China, while China, having alternative sources of energy, for example, in Turkmenistan, to dependence on Russian energy far.

Central Asia is also a zone of potential conflict where two countries compete for influence, in addition, the Russian side is concerned with the increased interest of China to Siberia. But together they are a powerful anti-American force, and perhaps this is the engine of their relationship. They occupy the same position on many issues in the security Council, for example, with respect to Kosovo, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria.

However, Russia’s war in Georgia and the annexation of Crimea did not receive support from China, which voted in the security Council that the annexation was illegal. China believes that the actions and rhetoric of Russia is cause for concern, but together with Russia they condemn Western interference in the Affairs of other States and the conflict in Ukraine has expanded the capabilities of China, for example, in the case of Taiwan.

One of those Chinese experts who denounced the responsibility of the regime for the conflict, pointed to the fact that the conflict has diverted U.S. attention from the actions of China in the South sea of Korea and Ukraine, may have given China is still “ten years.”

Between China and Russia is no longer a marriage, and now a strategic collaboration since the end of the cold war. It is intensified due to the war in Ukraine and Western sanctions. In recent years we have seen close cooperation in energy, infrastructure and the military, undermining the effect of sanctions and may strengthen the opposition of the liberal world order. However, this does not equal relationship that benefits China more than it benefits Russia, and it’s hard to believe that Russia will be a long time to come to terms with the fact that it is considered the “Junior companion”.