China-Russia Relations | Free Essay Examples


This research report investigates and appraises ongoing developments in China-Russia bilateral ties. Notably, both parties are trying to enhance their strategic partnership as a response mechanism against mounting American power diffusion in Asia Pacific regions. It will provide readers with an introduction describing key features and furnish scholarly insights into Chinese foreign policy regarding Russia.

Overview of the Topic

Beginning with the Soviet Union’s recognition of the People’s Republic of China in the early ’50s, political and economic ties binding Russia and China go far back in time. Both countries have their share of disputes, distrust being one such factor that has posed to be a roadblock over the years. In what seems to be a present trend though- there is an uptick in their relationship due to rising trade practices and unparalleled military coordination- all while they challenge US supremacy worldwide (Westad, 2019). China’s stance on Russia in international politics owes its roots to numerous factors, including economic interdependence, historical ties, and geopolitical considerations. Given the intense scrutiny of Western influences in the region, Russia is proactively building a stronger relationship with China in an attempt to restore balance.

In order to understand Chinese foreign policy with regard to Russia more comprehensively, this paper aims to exhaustively study related academic literature from leading experts in the field. By analyzing at least three individual researchers’ or groups’ major assertions and arguments on this topic, we aim to collect valuable insights into what is currently understood about it. Accordingly, examining many diverse factors that can affect Chinese behavior toward Russia is essential which include historical traditions, cultural values, and differences between policies of governance; home country affairs; economic influences; international negotiations; national safeguarding concerns as well as issues relating to energy-dependence are all under consideration in this research undertaking so too foreseen developments involving China’s relationship with Russian entities in the next ten years.

Literature Review of Chinese foreign policy in Russia

Their historical past shapes the intricate relationship between China and Russia and their respective geopolitical interests. In analyzing Chinese foreign policy toward its northern neighbor, researchers have noted pronounced changes in China’s approach to the partnership. Various scholars maintain that while previously seen as a subservient player, China has become increasingly assertive when collaborating with Russia.

According to Larson and Shevchenko (2019), China’s pursuit of global power status drives its foreign policy toward Russia. As per their analysis, China’s collaboration with Russia has a strategic significance assisting in balancing against the US and consolidating its positioning in the international arena. These experts emphasize that their common opposition to US supremacy has strengthened the association between China and Russia.

Sergi et al.’s (2019) research aim to illuminate how close collaboration between China and Russia is pivotal for promoting financial development in Central Asia. As per their reasoning, creating a stable ecosystem in terms of politics and economy is instrumental when facilitating investments within this market – something achieved only through solid bilateral ties among key players. According to them, platforms like the Belt and Road initiative can foster more profound coordination among these players.

Sahakyan (2020) advocates for cooperation among Russia, China, and Central Asia so that they can amass maximum collective advantage. Rather than competing with one another regarding matters such as terrorism and infrastructure expansion in the region–the author suggests these nations should adopt cooperative approaches towards resolving shared challenges. Sahakyan highlights the BRI as an imperative area of focus since it promotes linkage between these three entities.

According to existing literature, China’s approach to Russia as a foreign policy concern is characterized by strategic aspirations, economic collaboration, and a drive for great power recognition. Despite their shared concerns, the partnership between these two countries remains complex and subject to alteration. The achievement of the BRI initiative relies heavily on China, Russia, and Central Asia’s ability to collaborate towards mutual objectives.

Summary of the main points or arguments made by the scholars regarding Chinese foreign policy in Russia

The dynamics underlying Chinese foreign policy concerning Russia have been studied closely by academics such as Larson and Shevchenko (2019). The authors assert that China’s ambition for recognition in world affairs is one vital factor driving this relationship. As part of this quest for acknowledgment, Beijing aims to manage its connections simultaneously with Washington and Moscow while using its alliance with Russia to offset US predominance.

Contributing to current literature on Chinese foreign policy strategy in Central Asia vis-a-vis Russia’s role therein, Sergi et al.’s (2019) research presents intriguing conclusions about China’s financial aid and its impact on regional economic outcomes. They demonstrate how such arrangements can stimulate economic growth by funding joint ventures involving critical sectors such as infrastructure development and energy projects alongside Russia. The authors further assert that success within this initiative relies heavily upon continued cooperation between both countries.

Sahakyan’s (2020) perspective on the matter is far-ranging. According to him, numerous areas of potential cooperation exist between Russia, China, and Central Asia. Energy development or infrastructure network improvements could be shared initiatives, among others. Despite skepticism about China’s growing influence across the territory, Sahakyan asserts that a combined effort may contribute to increased connections within the area and more robust safety standards.

In view of these scholars, the Chinese approach to foreign policy with regard to Russia in the area manifests itself through several dimensions. Distinct variables shape it, including economic partnerships, the rivalry between major powers, and regional security apprehensions.

Background Information

From their initial partnership deal almost two decades ago until now, there have been notable changes in how China-Russia ties are viewed within international diplomacy circles. What had once been seen as just another trade alliance is now recognized for its complexity and ever-evolving nature having far-reaching implications on global power dynamics. No small players on the world stage, China and Russia serve as key drivers of regional and global politics whose alliance is shaping up to be a force with considerable ramifications (Polyakova & Meserole, 2019). How they conduct themselves in relation to one another is more important than ever before, impacting not only each country’s own trajectory but also how other heavyweights like the United States view them.

Over the last two decades, the relationship between China and Russia in terms of foreign diplomacy has been cultivated into a comprehensive partnership. By examining pivotal events, critical patterns, and determining factors that have contributed to this alliance, this section seeks to provide an extensive overview of their diplomatic ties. This analysis will illuminate a significant facet of the contemporary international political landscape while assessing its potential future trajectory.

Historical Context

Throughout the 20th century, China and Russia have shared both cooperative and competitive relationships. This relationship’s complexity is attributed to their respective ideological orientations and geopolitical interests. In light of China’s recent political overhaul with the establishment of the People’s Republic in 1949, its allegiance towards Russia took on a more explicit strategic nature, forging an alliance that would hinge upon their similar ideological views and mutual objectives to combat outside forces such as Western nations (Rolland, 2019).

Notwithstanding the seemingly proximate partnership between China and Russia throughout the Cold War, substantial tensions and discrepancies existed between the two nations. These included disputes over territorial boundaries, divergent strategic objectives, as well as disagreements over ideological and political matters. Following the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991, drastic change ensued within the China-Russia relationship (Krapohl & Vasileva-Dienes, 2020). With a tacit understanding that ideology no longer dictated their bond, both states began pivoting toward more pragmatic, economically-motivated pursuits.

The transition within geopolitical dynamics notwithstanding, it cannot be disregarded that multiple challenges obstruct the development of a comprehensive alliance between China and Russia. Contentious issues pertaining to commerce and finance and mistrust lingering between these two countries stand in the way. Over time, the China-Russia partnership has been influenced by an intricate interconnection between ideological, strategic, and economic elements. Grasping the complexity of this situation is paramount to grasping the present status of their alliance and its potential trajectory.

The 2000s: A New Era of Cooperation

With the dawn of the new millennium, China and Russia initiated a fundamental change in their bilateral affairs as they strove to foster an even closer bond founded on converging interests and growing trust between them.

As America emerged as an unrivaled global superpower during this period, China and Russia began viewing their positions within the international system with mounting concern. In response to these newfound vulnerabilities, they looked outward in search of novel partnerships and alliances aimed at countering American influence.

Another critical factor was the increasing convergence of economic interests between China and Russia. With China’s rapid economic growth and Russia’s abundant natural resources, the two countries saw a significant opportunity for economic cooperation and mutual benefit. This led to the signing of several major economic agreements, including a landmark oil pipeline deal that helped to deepen the economic ties between the two countries.

In addition to their economic ties, China and Russia pursued military partnerships, coordinated their politics, and fostered mutual cultural exchanges during the early 2000s era. A significant achievement reflecting this strong relationship is the founding of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) back in 2001 which plays an essential part in enhancing regional security while also serving as a crucial framework underlying Sino-Russian collaboration on multiple fronts (Krapohl & Vasileva-Dienes, 2020).

China and Russia’s collaboration during the 2000s were marked as a new phase of unity and cooperation characterized by strategic, economic, and geopolitical elements. Through this teamwork in different aspects, they formed an even stronger bond that would continuously evolve in the future.

The 2010s: A More Complex Relationship

The geopolitical climate of our times has witnessed a new era of intricacy and nuance within the relationship shared between China and Russia. As both nations grapple with shifting circumstances, they are forced to reevaluate their approach to navigating an evolving international sphere.

The dynamics of the China-Russia relationship have been affected by heightened competition between them over particular domains. Even though they maintain strong collaboration concerning energy, trade, and regional security, differences have emerged recently. Notably, Chinese expansion into Central Asia has caused anxiety amongst some Russian policymakers who consider it an infringement on what they perceive as their traditional zone of influence (Lukin, 2021).

One area where tensions remain between China and Russia is concerning territorial disputes. Although overall relations have been positive, disagreements over the ownership of various areas have escalated into significant issues, primarily regarding several contested islands in the Far East. Nonetheless, while these conflicts exist between them for now, neither power has sought or provoked open hostility towards one another.

The bond between China and Russia faces occasional trials; nevertheless, it has a strong basis: joint economic interests that offer both partners considerable gains. Of late, this bond has deepened in numerous ways. China is now seen as one of the most vital markets for Russian energy products, while Russia serves China with various trade items and services. From 2010 onwards, China-Russia relations were characterized by collaboration and competition (Lukin, 2021). The dynamic nature of contemporary geopolitical events meant these nations had to negotiate complex challenges. Even though there were disagreements at times, mutual economic benefits and strategic incentives kept them together. This enduring bond ensures continued relevance in future international affairs.

 Future Prospects

Moving forward, the dynamic between China and Russia is set to shift as they navigate an ever-evolving geopolitical landscape. Though collaboration is a significant aspect of their current relationship, its complexity stems from competition between the two states. Synthesizing strategic objectives with economic partnerships and additional variables will remain essential for each nation.

The future trajectory of bilateral ties between China and Russia heavily depends on various influential elements. Notably, these elements are underscored by current geopolitical circumstances that are increasingly characterized by tussles among major powers such as China, Russia, and the United States for global dominance (Pincus, 2020). It follows that navigating strategic interests based on these wider dynamics will be crucial for both countries.

As an ever-increasing driver of the Sino-Russian partnership, the ongoing economic relationship between these two countries is expected to endure any sporadic disputes or areas of tension. Underscored by cooperation for mutual gain, both states will sustain efforts to deepen economic integration for many years ahead.

Looking ahead, numerous factors, including regional security matters, land disputes, and novel models of global collective action, are poised to shape the nature of ties between China and Russia. Successfully navigating these complex dynamics will require a vigilant eye towards geopolitical developments and an ability to calibrate strategic actions according. While the future of Sino-Russian relations presents a complex and multi-dimensional picture, opportunities for collaboration amidst challenges are inevitable. The underlying motivations for partnership remain robust, compelling both nations to continue investing in this relationship and exploring novel avenues of shared interests and gains.


Main factors influencing Chinese foreign policy decisions in Russia

A significant change observed in Chinese foreign policy in recent years is increased engagement with Russia through strengthened diplomatic and economic partnerships. Several drivers have contributed to this new approach, including China’s concern about potential Western dominance over global affairs, including:

Historical factors

A comprehensive understanding of China-Russia relations must delve into their complex historical background. During the Soviet regime, both nations were staunch allies but soon diverged paths in the 1960s due to conflict stemming from contrasting ideologies. Post that era, however, they sought ways of repairing bilateral tensions and ultimately cemented a strategic partnership after the fall of the USSR (Rolland, 2019). Acknowledging how this longstanding past affects contemporary policymaking tactics concerning one another is pertinent.

Cultural factors

Despite having differences in language and religion, China and Russia share some common ground in their histories of communism and a mutual preference for government-guided economic growth. Developing cultural connections is therefore valuable to strengthen the partnership between these nations.

Economic factors

The development of economic relations between China and Russia has surpassed expectations, with multiple agreements being signed to deepen bilateral cooperation, most notably the China-Russia Energy Cooperation Plan. Even with these achievements, underlying issues stem from incompatible economic frameworks and nagging intellectual property rights apprehensions (Rolland, 2019).

As both nations explore avenues for collaborative economic advancement, the People’s Republic of China is keen on cultivating trade ties with Russia, particularly in infrastructure development and technology exchange spheres. Similarly, the Russian Federation embraces the notion of reducing dependence on energy exports while capitalizing on China as a critical destination for their sellable commodities.

Diplomatic factors

The past several years have seen a closer collaboration emerge between China and Russia on matters regarding the United Nations Security Council and the Belt and Road Initiative. For them, mutual partnership figures prominently in achieving their respective foreign policy ambitions, resulting in concerted efforts to counterbalance America’s influence. Crucially, China identifies upholding political stability within Russia as an essential aspect of protecting their shared economic interests along with guaranteeing national security, given that any instability occurring within Russian borders would have significant repercussions for China (McFaul, 2020).

National security factors

The shared security concerns faced by China and Russia–namely terrorism, separatism, and extremism, have led to deeper collaboration between the two nations, specifically regarding security issues such as counterterrorism and military cooperation. Moreover, given its desire to balance against American military supremacy in Asia, China highly values its relationship with Russia. A strategic partnership is the foundation of the blossoming relations between China and Russia in terms of their foreign policy objectives (McFaul, 2020). A shared perspective on opposition against Western dominance coupled with collaboration in areas addressing regional security and counterterrorism challenges prove that both nations continue to walk hand-in-hand towards greater unity.

Energy dependence factors

Russia occupies a prime position among leading oil and natural gas producers worldwide, while China is heavily dependent on such resources’ imports. Thus, energy cooperation remains one key area of engagement between China and Russia, as evidenced by their multiple signed energy agreements (Zhao et al., 2019).

With China being the largest energy consumer globally and Russia ranking among the world’s largest energy producers, their relationship is built on energy cooperation. The two countries have entered into several agreements to foster deeper collaboration, including the China-Russia Oil Pipeline (Zhao et al., 2019). However, issues like differences in pricing and rivalry from other suppliers present challenges in this partnership.

Undoubtedly, numerous factors play a vital role in defining China’s foreign policy choices when it comes to Russia. Although some obstacles may exist in their relationship, both nations have acknowledged the significance of their partnership and are steering toward strengthening their collaboration.

Impact of these factors on Chinese foreign policy decisions in Russia

The factors discussed above significantly impact Chinese foreign policy decisions in Russia.

Political History

Since the 1950s, Russia and China have had a mixed relationship, marked by collaboration and distrust. The two nations are enhancing their political alignment and economic integration by forming a strategic alliance in recent years. This cooperation is fuelled partly by their shared disdain for the United States’ global supremacy (McFaul, 2020). Consequently, China’s foreign policy moves concerning Russia reflect its background of augmenting mutual partnership and coordination.


Cultural connections with Russia notably influence China’s foreign policy strategies. Both countries share a love for classical music and literature, so these common interests add depth to their relationship. Likewise, they hold parallel approaches to governance, with a dominant focus on pursuing state-controlled economic development. Given these factors, China has based its foreign policy decisions on fostering closer links with Russia (Sergi, 2019).

Government and Domestic Politics

Regarding foreign policy decisions in Russia, China’s government officials consider their country’s domestic politics. Their focus lies in maintaining stability and fostering economic development, which outlines their approach to international relations. As such, seeking stronger ties, solidifying political influence in the region, securing natural resources, and expanding trade opportunities proves beneficial, making it plausible that China has been pursuing closer cooperation with Russia.


The sizeable economic partnership between China and Russia has proven an influential determinant of China’s foreign policy decisions towards its neighboring country. As the globe’s topmost energy-consuming nation, it is only fitting that China established an affinity for one of the planet’s most prominent energy producers, Russia (Zhao et al., 2019). Through enormous gas and oil imports from Russia and substantial investments in their infrastructure and industries (especially within their valuable energy sector), this burgeoning connection between both nations coincides seamlessly with strengthened Chinese political agendas throughout the entire Eurasian area.

Diplomacy and National Security

Multiple considerations affecting both national security objectives and broader geopolitical aims factor into the calculus that shapes China’s approach to policymaking vis-à-vis Russia; central among them is ensuring regional stability while safeguarding strategic interests against potential rivals in the global arena – chief among these being America. In this context, Beijing pursues closer partnerships with Moscow across a range of spheres, including trade, diplomacy, defense coordination, and beyond.

Accordingly, the intricate interplay of factors highlighted above has a resounding influence on the strategic calculations that underpin China’s foreign policy choices in Russia. The continual evolution of China’s political institutions, rich cultural heritage, multifaceted governance structures, and internal politics, dynamic economic prospects, and its own diplomatic and national security interests have all combined to shape China’s distinctive foreign policy approach towards this crucial region.

Comparison of Chinese foreign policy towards Russia with that of other neighboring countries

While China pursues a distinct approach with regard to Japan, South Korea, and India, their policies towards Russia demonstrate notable differences.

The foreign policy stance adopted by China towards both Japan and South Korea is characterized by its sensitivity to matters related to history and territory. Relating specifically to Japan, tensions between both countries are exacerbated by lingering resentment caused by Japanese actions during WWII alongside competing claims on sovereignty over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands (Zhao et al., 2019). Likewise, lengthy disputes surrounding ownership of the Dokdo/Takeshima islands serve as significant barriers to Beijing’s relationship with Seoul.

The dynamics driving foreign policy toward India differ significantly between India and China. Whereas India aims to achieve regional harmony through diplomacy, China has taken a competitive posture- seeking to outdo rivals, including India, by projecting more significant regional influence. In addition to this show of force, mentality is longstanding territorial claims which persists in contested places like Arunachal Pradesh or Aksai Chin.

China’s approach to its relationship with Russia is founded mainly on economic and strategic motives rather than conflicts over history or land boundaries. Cooperation between both nations has been witnessed in several sectors, including energy and national defense measures to counter America’s regional influence. This ultimate bond was fostered by their common belief system, which promotes state sovereignty alongside non-meddling domestic affairs policies.

China’s foreign policy regarding Russia may share specific characteristics with its policies towards other neighboring countries. However, it is noteworthy that these policies are primarily driven by distinctive factors that symbolize the exceptional bond between China and Russia.


In light of various scholarly perspectives, the Chinese foreign policy strategy towards Russia in Central Asia encompasses multiple dimensions shaped by various factors such as economic cooperation, major power competition, and concerns for regional security. China’s association with Russia has undergone significant changes over the past two decades, transitioning from a period wherein suspicions were high towards closer cooperation and partnership. Despite several challenges, both parties remain committed to working together based on shared interests and advantages as they continue collaborating on various strategic and economic programs.

The China-Russia relationship is a complex and multifaceted historical phenomenon affected by various factors, including shared geopolitical concerns, regional security dynamics, and economic interests. Despite enduring several disagreements and tensions recently, the overall pattern observed in this partnership has been one of increased collaboration and coordination.

A novel phase of mutual cooperation dawned upon China and Russia during the early years of the 21st century. The development was attributed to various factors, including converging energy interests, parallel political views on critical global issues, and apprehensions regarding US supremacy in the international system. During this epoch of relations between these countries, they worked together on multiple fronts encompassing cooperative undertakings such as joint military drills and coordinated endeavors for advancing their energy sectors.

Over the course of the past decade, it became apparent that the longstanding relationship between China and Russia had taken on a more nuanced nature. Although their economic partnership remained robust, there were clear indications of mixed competition and collaboration across different facets of their interaction. In navigating these dynamics, both countries sought to manage their strategic interests alongside regional priorities. Various factors will impact the forthcoming direction of the Russia-China partnership, including continuing geopolitical complexities, economic conditions, and local defense concerns. Despite these influences, there remains a compelling rationale for collaboration based on shared benefits which should drive both countries to seek deeper ties in the coming years.

In light of the rapidly shifting geopolitical landscape of the twenty-first century, the significance of the China-Russia relationship cannot be overstated. As such, this global powerhouse axis represents a vital coupling of power that is indicative of emerging trends and overarching strategic concerns. As the United States grapples with challenges and limits to its omnipresence, China and Russia are poised to take increasingly center stage concerning critical worldwide affairs- maximizing synergistic potentials on economic, diplomatic, and defense matters. Balancing strategic interests alongside regional priorities is challenging, particularly as China and Russia seek to navigate a rapidly changing global landscape. As such, they must keep evolving strategies over time in order to reduce potential challenges and risks linked with their close collaboration.

The complexity of the China-Russia relationship has been exemplified by decades of significant change, which resulted in various challenges and setbacks. Through all of these difficulties, however, both countries have remained committed to the underlying benefits of mutual collaboration. Addressing pressing economic and strategic issues together, their friendship is multi-dimensional. Analysis indicates that while various factors will undoubtedly be at play in shaping its future direction, one trend is clear: this union will continue to strengthen over time – holding significant international implications.


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