Sino-Russian Partnership in the Face of Changing Balance of Power and Internal Barriers
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The aim of this article is to describe and critically assess the main contentious issues in Sino-Russian relations and to explain how they affect the development of this relationship. First of all, the article examines the attitudes of China and Russia towards their relationship in the context of the changing distribution of power and increasing competition in Central Asia. Secondly, the influence of the collectively understood West on the dynamics of the Sino-Russian partnership is analyzed, with particular emphasis on the role of the United States. These applications are supplemented with an assessment of regional perception of relations in the Asia-Pacific region and a study of trade between two parties. The author does not limit himself to one methodological approach, drawing from the Balance of Threat Theory, the concept of security dilemma and analyzing political discourse and structure of bilateral trade. The results of the analysis indicate the existence of relatively permanent and significant barriers, suggesting that the Sino-Russian relations will not reach a higher level of intensity than is the case at present. The current form of cooperation enables both parties to pursue common interests without risking an assertive reaction from the United States. Only sudden and far-reaching changes, harmful to both countries, have a chance to bring about a convergence of China’s and Russia’s interests sufficient to create a fully operational alliance.
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