- Security Watch – BRICS: symptom of an emerging multipolar world ? - September 9, 2023
- Security Watch: What implications does the Niger coup d’état have for the Sahel? - August 21, 2023
- Security Watch: Can Riyadh and Tehran Achieve a Lasting Détente? - August 7, 2023
China’s President Xi Jiinping met with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin remotely via video link on Friday, Dec. 30 – the Kremlin’s latest effort to deepen defense ties as Russia’s isolation with the West stretches.
Moscow has sought to strengthen political and military cooperation with its main ally, Beijing, since it has come under unprecedented Western sanctions for its Feb. 24, 2022 invasion of Ukraine. The Russian military conducted several military maneuvers with the People’s Liberation Army in 2022, the last of which took place Dec. 21-27 in the East China Sea.
Beijing and Moscow view Washington as an impediment to their geostrategic and economic ambitions and have sought to forge a “‘no limits’ partnership” to counterbalance American international dominance.
However, China has refrained from challenging U.S. sanctions on semiconductors and other technologies imposed on Russia. The move comes as China’s political system has been grappling with considerable civil unrest over the past year against anti-lockdown measures, following three years of Covid-zero policy and a burgeoning property market crisis that has seen economic growth lag behind East Asia and the Pacific for the first time in more than 30 years. As China faces its worst Covid-19 outburst since the easing of restrictions, President Xi was less trenchant in his criticism of Western countries – which represent China’s largest export markets – and stopped short of explicitly mentioning military cooperation during the virtual meeting.
Putin expressed his wish for a State visit by his Chinese counterpart to Moscow this year. This would be a first since the emergence of the pandemic in December 2019. Ultimately, however, the sustainability of the relationship will remain an open question: Chinese economic and military capabilities are likely to grow relative to Russia’s, as is their geostrategic rivalry in Central Asia and the Arctic.