The economic partnership between Russia and China is rapidly developing into a political and military alliance against US ambitions in Asia
We reported yesterday that China has become the first foreign buyer of Russia's most advanced air defense system, the S-400, and noted how the deal is consistent with growing military and political ties between the two countries.
Moscow clearly sees Beijing as a long-term ally if it's willing to provide China with its best military hardware.
If the S-400 deal isn't persuasive enough though, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi's comments during his recent visit to Moscow should remove all doubt regarding the China-Russia alliance:
“China-Russia cooperation is not confined to bilateral levels, instead, the two countries have been coordinating and playing active roles in a number of international issues,” Wang said on Friday.
The two countries, as permanent members of the UN Security Council and major emerging economies, have held similar positions on the Syrian crisis, as well as negotiations at the WTO and IMF.
“As each other’s most important and prioritized partners, China and Russia are developing the comprehensive strategic coordination as a strategic principle, rather than any expediency,” the Chinese Foreign Minister added.
This is an incredible statement, and is most likely causing mass panic at the Pentagon. China and Russia are working together on "strategic coordination" regarding "a number of international issues". This is how NATO talks, minus the acronym.
While Yi cites the conflict in Syria as an example of "similar positions" between Moscow and Beijing, we suspect that China realizes it will need help to keep the US out of its sphere of influence. Together, Russia and China are now protesting US plans to deploy new missile defense systems in South Korea. And as the US continues to antagonize China in the South China Sea, Beijing sees Russia as a political and military partner against further western ambitions in Asia.
Let's be clear, though: China is the world's largest (or second largest, depending on the source) economy. Russia falls somewhere in the 7th-9th largest range. As such, many commentators have argued that China does not see Russia as an equal, and we think this view has merit.
And while China may very well view Russia as its "little brother", we don't think this relationship is at all exploitive. Yes, China was a big winner of the Ukraine crisis, allowing Beijing to ink extremely favorable energy deals with Russia: But one can hardly expect China to be altruistic. With the US as a major threat to both nations, it's hard to believe that China is taking Russia for a ride.
Which brings us back to the S-400 deal: China wants military deterrence from US encroachment -- something that Russia specializes in.
Yes, China wears the "economic pants" in this relationship, but Russia more than compensates with its advanced military capabilities and incredible potential for economic growth -- which China is heavily invested in. And as BRICS continues to develop, as well as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Eurasian Economic Union, we predict that China will gradually come to see Russia as an economic equal.
True, China and Russia don't have joint military bases spanning the globe, but NATO is hardly a model for an effective defensive alliance.
The China-Russia alliance against US hegemony: Finally, something to drink to.
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
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