22:38 GMT19 October 2020
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    Fu Ying, vice minister of China's Foreign Ministry, described China's relations with Russia as a "stable strategic partnership," which (despite some claims to the contrary) is "by no means a marriage of convenience."

    The bilateral relationship, she noted in an article for Foreign Affairs, is currently "complex, sturdy and deeply rooted." It will most likely only strengthen with time, since the developments of the past several decades "have only brought the two countries closer together."

    Chinese experts and politicians have long emphasized that the bilateral relations between Beijing and Moscow are neither an alliance, nor will they become one. The idea of creating blocs has often been presented as alien to the Chinese political culture and an inherent element of the American one.

    The logic is the following: alliances, according to the Chinese, create unnecessary tensions. Instead, major powers should focus on fostering bilateral ties.

    In this context, relations between Russia and China could serve as a blueprint of how "two big neighbors" could "manage their differences" and promote what the Chinese often refer to as non-confrontational win-win cooperation.

    In the last two decades, "bilateral trade and investment have expanded on a massive scale. In 2011, China became Russia's largest trading partner. In 2014 alone, China's investment in Russia grew by 80 percent," Fu Ying observed.

    Chinese amphibious tanks and marines storm a beachhead in an amphibious assault drill during the third phase of the Sino-Russian joint military exercise
    © AFP 2020 / XINHUA
    Chinese amphibious tanks and marines storm a beachhead in an amphibious assault drill during the third phase of the Sino-Russian joint military exercise

    At the same time, the two countries have deepened security and defense cooperation. China is one of the leading importers of Russian-made weapons. Both nations conduct joint military drills on a regular basis. They also offer exchange programs for military officials and personnel. 

    "As economic and military links have strengthened, so, too, have political ones. In 2008, China and Russia were able to peacefully resolve territorial disputes that had troubled relations for decades, formally demarcating their 2,600-mile-plus border and thus eliminating their single largest source of tension – a rare achievement for big neighbors," Fu Ying noted.

    These trends indicate that any allegations that "Beijing and Moscow are drifting apart" are groundless.

    The Chinese diplomat described relations between Beijing and Washington as "constructive engagement." In general, "relations among China, Russia and the United States currently resemble a scalene triangle…  Within this triangle, Chinese-Russian relations are the most positive and stable," she asserted.

    Both countries share similar stance on a range of issues. For instance, "both Beijing and Moscow object to Washington's use of force against and imposition of sanctions on other countries and to the double standards the United States applies in its foreign policies."

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    defense cooperation, politics, economic cooperation, United States, China, Russia
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