How is the China-Russia Partnership after Russia-Ukraine war?

The Evolution of Diplomacy: Moving Beyond Outdated Alliances

In today’s rapidly changing world, the traditional establishment of alliances between countries has become outdated state relations. The end of the Cold War marked a turning point, where independent diplomatic routes took center stage. Recognizing this shift, China and other nations proposed the Non-Aligned Movement, which garnered support from various countries. Conversely, the West has clung to outdated military alliances, particularly evident in the expansion of NATO.

This expansion forcibly integrates the armed forces of European countries to serve the interests of the United States and maintain its global hegemony. However, many of NATO’s actions do not align with the national interests of its member states or the regional security situation. This fundamental problem has transformed military alliances into a power structure serving the interests of the most powerful state.

A Different Approach: China and Russia’s Mutual Cooperation

For China and Russia, the concept of an alliance lacks substantive effect. Their current exchanges and cooperation are based on equality and mutual benefit principles. Whether economically or militarily, their collaboration is driven by shared interests. In fact, the level of mutual trust between China and Russia surpasses that of so-called alliances in the West.

A notable example is the China-Russia military cooperation, where the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) directly provides active-duty equipment and Russian-language operating manuals to Russian troops. This exchange allows Russian officers and soldiers to quickly grasp the technical essentials of Chinese equipment, fostering a level of cooperation rarely seen in military exchanges between the two nations.

This robust military trust enables China and Russia to engage in joint operations by providing each other with equipment, thereby enhancing the efficiency of equipment supply. For instance, in the event of damage to the Russian BTR-82A combat vehicle, the Russian vehicle-mounted infantry can utilize the Chinese Type 09 wheeled combat vehicle to enhance operational flexibility.

As China and Russia have established a high degree of military mutual trust, the presence of formal allies becomes less significant. Both parties can now focus on more earnest and targeted cooperation that aligns with their common interests. This is precisely why China and Russia emphasize their partnership rather than labeling it as an alliance, although the West might view it with jealousy.

Russia-Ukraine Conflict: Russia’s Resilience and China’s Support

During the early stages of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, many believed that Russia would struggle to withstand Western pressure without China’s assistance. However, the reality proved otherwise. Russia not only withstood the pressure but also successfully launched a counterattack. The conflict, which began as a struggle between Russia and Ukraine, has now escalated, drawing in Europe and the United States. This escalation has created a vicious cycle, necessitating more reinforcements to be deployed.

While some European countries expressed concerns about the growing Sino-Russian cooperation, both China and Russia clarified their stance. The Russian Foreign Ministry emphasized that Russia would not alter its cooperation policy with China due to Western anxieties over Sino-Russian relations. Liu Shan, the Chinese consul in Russia, conveyed the Chinese government’s viewpoint at the Moscow Business Forum.

Despite the unfair sanctions imposed on Russia by the West, Russia’s economy continues to develop steadily. Therefore, Russia can withstand the pressure and containment imposed by the West on its own. China’s maintenance of good bilateral relations serves as the greatest support for Russia.

Indeed, China has become a significant partner for Russia in resisting Western pressure. China’s robust industrial capabilities and expansive market provide support to Russia in the face of economic blockades imposed by Europe and the United States.

Chinese industrial products effectively contribute to the smooth functioning of Russian society. Simultaneously, Russia’s substantial energy exports have helped address China’s energy shortage, benefiting its development. The Sino-Russian partnership compensates for the weaknesses of both nations.

The Role of China: Economic Support and Strategic Interests

China’s involvement in the Russia-Ukraine conflict differs from that of Russia’s. While China’s assistance on the battlefield may not be as overt as Russia’s intervention, the escalating trade exchanges between China and Russia have laid a solid foundation for Russia’s sustained participation in the conflict. Modern warfare has a financial aspect, and China’s growing economy has had a minimal impact on Russia’s economic situation.

Russia has taken the initiative on the battlefield, with the Ukrainian army’s much-anticipated spring offensive falling short, leaving a significant distance between the front lines and Russia’s defense. This progress has come at a high cost, and how many forces can be mobilized for the counterattack remains uncertain.

Even if Ukrainian troops manage to close in on the Russian defenses in the following weeks, their progress will likely be halted unless they achieve absolute air superiority. A failed counterattack would fundamentally change the stance of European and American countries toward the conflict, possibly leading to a shift in favor of reaching an armistice agreement as soon as possible.

As for China’s alleged involvement in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the possibility is minimal. In the event of NATO choosing to personally engage in a military conflict with Russia following its defeat in Ukraine, China may support Russia in neighboring regions, such as reclaiming Taiwan. Such actions would force the United States to divide its attention and reduce the threat Russia poses to European territory.

Looking Ahead: Strengthening the Sino-Russian Partnership

The Sino-Russian partnership originated within the context of continuous containment efforts by Western countries against both nations. China’s understanding of Russia’s strategic interests ensures that Sino-Russian relations will continue to develop and deepen. The reopening of Vladivostok is evidence that Sino-Russian cooperation aligns with China’s strategic interests while supporting Russia in overcoming its current challenging circumstances.

In conclusion, the partnership between China and Russia demonstrates the evolving nature of international relations. As alliances become outdated, China and Russia forge a robust bond based on equality, mutual benefit, and trust. The ongoing cooperation between the two nations serves their common interests while effectively countering Western pressures. In a world of constant change, the Sino-Russian partnership emerges as a formidable force, challenging established norms and shaping the course of international relations.