In an April 2019 press conference, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping released a joint statement touting China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative, optimistically welcoming its potential to coexist with, and even complement, the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union project. Yet, while both countries have promoted an official narrative of friendly co-operation and mutual opposition to Western geopolitical dominance, there may be deeper fissures below the surface. To what extent might vast economic and demographic disparities, alongside both countries ambivalent commitments to maintaining the international order, stop the Sino-Russian relationship becoming a long-term alliance?
Do their respective integration projects allow for a more extensive relationship beyond the realms of trade, economics and infrastructure?
Or do they expose two competing geopolitical visions particularly given Beijing and Moscow’s overlapping interest in Central Asia?
And how have international perceptions of China and Russia changed in recent years?