Sino-Russia Strategic Partnership By Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

Sino-Russia Strategic Partnership By Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

SINO-Russian bilateral relations are on a positive trajectory. Both sides favour multipolarity in global politics and are cementing their strategic partnership to counter United States sanctions and balance NATO’s Asian foray. On May 16, 2024, President Xi and President Vladimir Putin expressed their resolve to deepen the China-Russian strategic partnership, bolstering military, economic, technology, and energy cooperation. The end of the Cold War and the demise of the Warsaw Pact did not end the utility of military alliances in international politics. Contemporary geopolitical dynamics have rejuvenated alliance politics in inter-state relations, multiplying NATO’s significance in the Euro-Atlantic strategic environment. Besides, the Americans consider QUAD, AUKUS and I2U2 imperative for maintaining the balance of power and ensuring deterrence against China in the Indo-Pacific region.

The critical review of the Biden Administration’s declassified policy documents reveals that China is the United States’ most consequential strategic competitor for the coming decades. India is a natural defence partner of the US to contain China and ensure free and open access to the Indian Ocean region. NATO’s 2022 Strategic Concept, declassified in June 2022, identified Russia as “the most significant and direct threat to Allies’ security and peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area,” and China described as a ‘systemic challenge’ to Euro-Atlantic security. Notably, for the first time, NATO declared that China poses a challenge to the alliance.

The leaders of NATO reiterated on July 11, 2023 (during the 2023 NATO summit held in Vilnius, Lithuania) their intentions to establish the 32-member alliance as a real contender in the Asia-Pacific theatre. The Vilnius Summit Communiqué supplemented NATO’s 2022 Strategic Concept (June 2022) and the alliance-strategic pundits’ conclusion that security crises are globalized, with issues in Asia having European ramifications, and vice versa — in essence, a justification of NATO’s Asian foray. In recent years, various developments have complemented NATO’s Asian foray policy, i.e., Japan and South Korea’s participation in the NATO summit at Vilnius for the second year.

China and Russia have expressed serious concerns over the US alliance politics in Europe and Asia. Last week, Putin and Xi stated in a joint statement in Beijing, “The United States still thinks in terms of the Cold War and is guided by the logic of bloc confrontation, putting the security of ‘narrow groups’ above regional security and stability, which creates a security threat for all countries in the region. The US must abandon this behavior.” Both sides resolved to offset Washington’s so-called ‘dual containment’ of China and Russia.

The Chinese ruling elite is aware of the strategic thinking of the US and its allies. Therefore, it has been modernizing its armed forces. During China’s 20th Party Congress proceedings, President Xi, while painting the darkest picture of China’s external threats, promised to increase further the quantity and quality of the country’s defense production. President Xi announced that by 2049, China’s armed forces would transform into world-class forces.

China and Russia’s deepening cooperation in high technologies and innovations is upsetting the U.S.-led Western nations. It is because it would revolutionize China’s military-industrial complex, which is a prerequisite for realizing President Xi’s dream to modernize the Chinese armed forces. Putin and Xi described the relationship between the two nations as having “transcended the military-political alliance model of the Cold War era.” Hence, the U.S.-led NATO confronts a powerful military China-Russia nexus in both Europe and Asia, whose collective nuclear arsenal could, within a few years, be nearly double the size of the United States.

Russia is in dire need of Chinese political support at the international forums and dual-use materials and weapons to continue its war in Ukraine. China is not exporting arms to Russia, providing material support to the Russian military industrial complex. Therefore, the Biden administration warned China against assisting Russia in the rapid production of rockets, drones, and tanks.

China also expects like-minded nations to support China’s position on the Xinjiang region and the Taiwan issue. The Biden administration’s increased support for Taiwan and the newly elected President of Taiwan’s stance on the independence of the country could unleash war in the Taiwan Strait. Putin reaffirmed Moscow’s stance that Taiwan is an integral part of China and opposed the independence of Taiwan in any form. He ensured his Chinese counterpart that the Kremlin firmly supports China’s actions to protect its sovereignty, territorial integrity, and efforts to unify the country. In response, China opposed outside interference in Russia’s internal affairs and condemned a terrorist attack on a Moscow concert hall on March 22, 2024.

Besides military cooperation, China seeks cheap energy—oil, gas, and uranium—imports from Russia to sustain its economic growth. Notably, China has become Russia’s primary trading partner since its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. On May 17, Putin stated at the Russia-China trade expo, “Russia is ready and able to continuously power the Chinese economy, businesses, cities and towns with affordable and environmentally clean energy.” However, benefitting from the sanctioned Russian economy does have risks.

President Biden announced a sharp tariff increase on various Chinese imports, including electric vehicles, solar cells, semiconductors, and advanced batteries, on May 14, 2024. Admittedly, the increase in tariff was to protect American indigenous industry. Int in reaction to China’s increasing trade with Russia, the U.S. might levy sanctions against Chinese banks, which cut them off from the dollar-led global financial system. To conclude, Putin and Xi are steadily nurturing the so-called’ no-limits partnership’ to offset the repercussions of Western sanctions and cast the U.S. as an aggressive Cold War hegemon sowing chaos across the world. Thus, China and Russia have drawn together by hostility to the United States.

—The writer is professor at the School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University.

Email: jaspal_99@hotmail.com

Sino-Russia Strategic Partnership By Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

Source: https://pakobserver.net/sino-russia-strategic-partnership/

 

May 22, 2024

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