In recent years, the relationship between China and Russia has grown stronger, with both countries viewing themselves as counterweights to Western influence in global affairs. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin have developed a personal friendship, and the two countries have strengthened their strategic partnership through military cooperation, economic ties, and political support.
One key area of agreement between China and Russia is their opposition to Western liberal ideas and the US-led global order. Both countries see the United States as a hegemonic power seeking to dominate the world, and they have voiced their dissatisfaction with the current international system that they believe unfairly favors the West.
In this context, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine has provided an opportunity for China and Russia to further align their interests. Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 was condemned by the West, but China has largely remained neutral on the issue, refraining from criticizing Russia’s actions. Instead, Beijing has called for a peaceful resolution to the conflict and advocated for Ukraine to respect the rights of ethnic Russians living in the country.
While the Chinese are undoubtedly calculating the costs of Russia’s actions, they are unlikely to want a quick end to the war in Ukraine. For one, a prolonged conflict weakens the West and distracts from other issues, such as China’s own territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Additionally, Russia’s aggressive actions could serve as a warning to other countries that might consider challenging China’s own territorial claims.
Furthermore, China has its own interests in Ukraine, particularly in the country’s agriculture and infrastructure sectors. Ukrainian farmland is considered some of the most fertile in the world, and China has been investing heavily in Ukrainian agriculture in recent years, seeking to secure food supplies for its growing population. Additionally, China has shown interest in Ukraine’s infrastructure, including its ports and railways, which could be used to transport goods to Europe as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
China and Russia have also increased their military cooperation in recent years, with joint military exercises and the sale of Russian weapons to China. This military cooperation serves to strengthen both countries’ positions in the region and could be used to challenge the United States and its allies.
Despite their growing alliance, however, China and Russia still have some areas of disagreement. One of these is the issue of North Korea, where Russia has been more supportive of international sanctions while China has been more cautious in its approach. Additionally, Russia has been critical of China’s growing influence in Central Asia, which it sees as its own sphere of influence.
Overall, the relationship between China and Russia is complex and multifaceted. While both countries share a common goal of challenging Western dominance, they also have their own individual interests and priorities. However, the current geopolitical climate has provided an opportunity for China and Russia to work together more closely, and it is likely that their partnership will continue to grow in the coming years.