China Security and Risk Tracker
15 min read

MERICS China Security and Risk Tracker


Focus topic: From marriage of convenience to strategic partnership: China-Russia relations and the fight for  global influence

Beijing and Moscow have gone to great lengths to publicly reaffirm their strategic partnership. They have done so amid rising geopolitical competition and re-emerging transatlantic cooperation over how to deal with China. However, the Sino-Russian relationship is not a full alliance. Tensions remain, which could eventually undermine the partnership. Meanwhile, however, Sino-Russian cooperation already poses challenges and threats to Europe, NATO and the rules-based international order which deserve immediate attention.

Russia and China have renewed the 20-year-old Sino-Russian Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation. The 2001 treaty’s renewal on June 28, 2021, provided a show of unity a fortnight after the NATO summit declared that China’s “ambitions and assertive behavior presents systemic challenges to the rules-based international order” and to Alliance security. China’s military links with Russia were also singled out.