No. 86 – August 2016
Author: Enrico Mariutti
This paper aims to to analyse the relationship between Russia and China regarding military, economic and resource policies, bearing in mind recent developments. During the last two years Beijing and Moscow have shown indications of a growing convergence. Economic and military cooperation are the main fields where this approach is more evident. However, no strategic alliance appears on the horizon for them yet. The two countries are divided not only by historical and cultural factors, but also because the two economic structures are very different and do not easily match each other. Furthermore, Russia and China do not equally share the regional power balance having strategic and tactical regional issues, and are fierce competitors in many areas: for instance, in the military and financial market arena, or in their territorial and sea route disputes. The recent Ukraine and Syrian crises have moved Russia closer to China, and this has warmed their relationship; however recent developments have underlined the reciprocal limits of their economic, political and technological collaboration. Moreover, Russia and China have demonstrated very different visions about Global Order. China has a hierarchical view of international relations and the ambition to position itself at the pinnacle of global hegemony. Russia wants a larger sharing of power regional bases within the Washington Consensus, which would permit Moscow to become a player with a comparative role as that of the USA. However, what appears to be the key limitation of the Russian and Chinese convergence is the risk of being marginalized in the international system. They do not seem to possess a universal development model to share with others. The consequences of their inherent political issues risk to placing them in a predicament, further strengthening the Western network of alliances and influences.