This report illuminates the current status of China’s security and energy relations with Russia. The authors describe a relationship that is complex and at times fraught with distrust, and which, although potentially promising, is increasingly marred by uncertainties.
In 1996 the leaders of China and Russia, Jiang Zemin and Boris Yeltsin, declaredthe establishment of a "strategic partnership" between the two countries. Considering the dramatic changes undergone in the world since then, especially in China and Russia, 1996 seems a long time ago indeed.
China has grown with remarkable speed to become the world's second largest economy, oil importer, and military spender. It is the world's largest in regards to greenhouse gas emission, foreign currency reserves, exports, and manufacturing. This growth highlights a power shift from West to East: China's rise has had an enormous impact on the spectrum of international relationships at global and regional levels, and is one of the most important strategic developments of the past 15 years. But while China's ascendance and its impact around the world—in Africa, in South America, and vis-à-vis the United States and Europe—is the subject of frequent and often heated inquiry, less attention has been given to assessing the impact on its longstanding "strategic partnership" with Russia.