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.