Faultlines Appear In ‘Special’ Ties Between China, Russia

Although China and Russia have often described their relationship as “special and unprecedented”, cracks are appearing in their ties on several issues including differences on Vladivostok, sales of Russian arms to India and delays in the delivery of Russian missiles to Beijing, South China Morning Post reported.

The biggest crack involves New Delhi’s suggestion that Moscow join the US-led Indo-Pacific grouping, which is widely seen as anti-China, according to a report by SCMP.

There has been a suggestion that Washington wants to embrace its old Cold War adversary as a way of countering growing Chinese might.

It seems Russia’s arms sales to New Delhi has irked Chinese public soon after a deadly stand-off between Chinese and Indian troops along the Line of Actual Control.

As one Chinese internet user put it: “While fighting your opponent, how would you feel if your friend handed over a knife to your opponent?”

However, Dmitry Stefanovich, a research fellow with the Centre for International Security at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of World Economy and International Relations, pointed out that Russia had been supplying arms to India since long before the clash in the Himalayas.

Another faultline appeared between Beijing and Moscow over the supply of Russia S 400 anti-aircraft missile system to China.

Last month, the Chinese websites NetEase and Sohu reported the deliveries had been “delayed” due to the coronavirus, but Moscow said later the deliveries had been “suspended”.

According to Russia’s TASS news agency, China received its first batch of S-400s in 2018 but further deliveries were suspended when Moscow accused Valery Mitko, president of the St Petersburg Arctic Social Sciences Academy, of spying for Beijing.

Watchers of Russia-China relations believe the spying allegations against an Arctic researcher could highlight a burgeoning competition between the two countries in the region, according to CNN.

Divisions over Vladivostok are also a contentious issue between China and Russia.

Last month, the Russian embassy caused an online backlash in China when it posting a video about the commemoration service for the city’s 160th anniversary.

Describing the S-400 suspension as an “intriguing development”, Derek Grossman, a senior defence analyst at the Rand Corporation, a Washington think tank, said the suspension ran counter to the narrative that Sino-Russian security relations had strengthened in recent years.

“This strongly suggests that Moscow’s decision was in response to the [Himalayan] incident,” Grossman said.

Recently, it was reported that India told Russia to support the Indo-Pacific grouping.

Some Chinese commentators deemed the development as a “betrayal of China”. But while some analysts questioned whether the US would agree to Russian membership, others thought that given the right incentives Moscow could be convinced. (ANI)

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