The Far East as an Obstacle to Russo-Chinese Relations

Territory and geography help to explain why the two neighbors can never seem to embrace each other.

Russo-China ties have always been something of a MacGuffin in international affairs. Moscow and Beijing are neither bitter enemies nor close allies, so movement one way or the other in the status of the relationship tends to worry their neighbors as well as the United States, whose primacy could in theory be undermined by a combining of these great powers. Even so, Russia hopes that 2021 will be a special year for bilateral relations as the parties celebrate the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty on Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation. At the end of 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin described his relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping as businesslike and trusting, noting that Moscow and Beijing have similar interests in many areas. Just a few years ago, Russia and China set an ambitious goal of increasing trade to $200 billion annually by 2024 – a reflection of how natural their business partnership could be, considering Moscow is still under sanctions from the West. But a deeper dive shows that such a partnership is not as ideal or as easy as it seems. Their histories are rife with tension and conflict, and their respective domestic imperatives often clash with […]

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Ekaterina Zolotova
Ekaterina Zolotova is an analyst for Geopolitical Futures. Prior to Geopolitical Futures, Ms. Zolotova participated in several research projects devoted to problems and prospects of Russia’s integration into the world economy. Ms. Zolotova has a specialist degree in international economic relations from Plekhanov Russian University of Economics. In addition, Ms. Zolotova studied international trade and international integration processes. Her thesis was on features of economic development of Venezuela. She speaks native Russian and is fluent in English.