Sino-Russian relations could be tested in Africa and the Middle East

by MMC
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In mid-September, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi journey in Moscow for bilateral talks on strategic ties between China and Russia, as well as to prepare for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit next month to the Belt and Road Initiative summit in Beijing. Throughout Wang’s trip, remarks on the synergies between Russian and Chinese perspectives on US hegemony and the war in Ukraine loomed large.

But the expansive rhetoric displayed in Moscow as well as other recent high-level meetings between the two sides masks a significant vulnerability in the Russian-Chinese strategic partnership: although Russia and China defend the creation of a multipolar world order and regularly align their votes in the United Nations Security Council, their real cooperation on the ground lags far behind, particularly in the Middle East and Africa.

This lack of collaboration stems, on the one hand, from Russia’s concerns over China’s growing power in global diplomacy and, on the other hand, from China’s growing exasperation with Russia’s recourse to to destabilization and gray zone tactics to project power.

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