Russia’s China Policy: Growing Asymmetries and Hedging Options

In: Russian Politics
Igor Denisov Senior Research Fellow, Center for East Asian and Shanghai Cooperation Organization Studies, Institute for International Studies, MGIMO-University Moscow Russia

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Alexander Lukin Department Head, Department of International Relations and International Laboratory on World Order Studies and the New Regionalism, HSE University Moscow Russia

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This article examines the state and prospects of Russia’s policy toward China. We look at recent trends in the evolution of the world order, the history of Moscow-Beijing relations, and the changes in the balance of power between Russia and China to offer a forecast of Russia’s China policy in the near term. Special attention is paid to the role of the 2001 Treaty of Good-Neighborliness, Friendship, and Cooperation. The authors conclude that, despite the Treaty’s significance, the international situation – and indeed the relative strengths of the two countries – have significantly changed over the past 20 years. The new conditions will inevitably compel Russia to adjust its policy toward China. Moscow, as always, will seek to develop its political and economic partnership with Beijing. However, it will likely move toward hedging against risks that excessive dependence on China could bring about.

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