China and Russia Drills Show Firm Mutual Support
By Prof. Li Xing*
The number of locations where China and Russia have held joint military exercises is on the rise, stretching from the East China Sea, the Sea of Japan and the South China Sea in the Asia-Pacific region to the Mediterranean, the Black Sea and the Russian Baltic Sea port Baltiysk in the Eurasian region. Generally speaking, the joint drills between the two countries have increased both in level and scale, indicating China and Russia’s comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination is moving forward. Beijing and Moscow have been firmly supporting each other in high-level political issues such as national security, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Sino-Russian cooperation is advancing in an all-round fashion. Border disputes that are likely to impede bilateral ties have been legally settled. In terms of economic development strategies, the Belt and Road initiative is dovetailed with the Eurasian Economic Union. Russian President Vladimir Putin gave priority to the initiative and attended the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in Beijing in mid May. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization has expanded its membership, and the BRICS mechanism including Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, is undergoing sound growth. The BRICS summit will be held in Xiamen, Fujian Province in September. Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Russia just before attending the G20 summit 2017 held in Hamburg, Germany. Xi and Putin have frequently interacted and coordinated with each other and the China-Russia relationship is coming into full blossom.
The two countries have contributed a lot to the development of contemporary global affairs by forging a new model of major power relations featuring win-win cooperation, common development and partnership instead of alliance. China-Russia military drills come as some countries and intergovernmental organizations like the US and NATO are championing power politics and a Cold War mentality, and pursuing an absolute advantage in security. They are ramping up efforts to form cliques and factions and are adept at making a fuss in the guise of international law. They are the masters of creating tensions by coercing, pressuring, and containing those whom they perceive as rivals, such as China and Russia. The US is also suppressing and challenging China and Russia by manipulating and acting in collusion with some Eurasian countries.
The China-Russia diplomatic duo is a highlight in the international political landscape. The two countries serve as a ballast stone for world peace and stability. China and Russia are neither timid nor provocative. The Baltic Sea drills between Beijing and Moscow show their firm mutual support and tough stance on hegemony. China and Russia have intertwined strategic interests that create a strong intrinsic driving force for cooperation. Those who attempt to drive a wedge between the two states are doomed to failure.
*Li Xing is director of Eurasian Studies Center and a professor at the School of Government, Beijing Normal University.