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Russia-China relations and the implications on Ukraine, US


Russia and China may be closer than they’ve been in decades, but the two countries don’t have identical interests, according to the director of the Wilson Center’s Kissinger Institute on China and the United States.

Robert Daly said Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have shared interests coupled with “very different diplomatic styles and some different goals.”

His comments came days after the two leaders announced a “no limits” partnership in Beijing on the day of the Winter Olympics opening ceremony.

That joint declaration may be a milestone in the relationship between Russia and China, Daly told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Monday.

“This came very close to being the announcement of a quasi-alliance,” he said, adding that the two countries are “standing shoulder to shoulder” to counter the United States, but that “China has a long standing non-alliance policy — so they don’t want to use the word ally.”

“They are now closer together than ever, probably than for the past 70 years,” he said.

However, their alignment isn’t complete: Russia sells arms to Vietnam and to India, both countries that have had territorial disputes with China in recent years. Russia hasn’t supported all of China’s moves in the South China Sea, a body of water that is commercially critical for Vietnam, Japan and others but most of which China claims as its own territory.

For its part, China walked a fine line over Russia’s invasion and occupation of Crimea in 2014, abstaining from votes on U.N. resolutions regarding Crimea’s international status.


If China supports Russia, it would have a price to pay in the form of backlash from the United States and its allies, said Bonny Lin, director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“China, to the extent possible, would like to not bear those costs. So China would prefer the crisis to continue as is, or de-escalate a bit,” she told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia.”

Still, China’s relationship with Russia won’t fracture if Putin attacks Ukraine, she predicted. China’s foreign ministry issued a statement after the leaders met, saying that “the two countries have never and will never waver in this choice” to work as partners.

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Russia-China relations and the implications on Ukraine, US