Present and Future Sino-Russian Cooperation: Chinese Perspectives

Present and Future Sino-Russian Cooperation
Chinese Perspectives

by Ma Bin and Zhang Jian
May 30, 2019

This essay provides Chinese perspectives on the relationship between China and Russia and assesses the outlook for future cooperation.



Sino-Russian relations are among the most important bilateral relations in the world. Both China and Russia think their relations are at a very high level. Sino-Russian relations have developed rapidly in the past three decades from “friendly countries” to a “new type of constructive partnership” to a “strategic partnership of cooperation.” The intergovernmental mechanisms to support the development of the relationship exist at different levels, such as between the heads of state, the central governments, the legislatures, local governments, and the people. The development of Sino-Russian relations is based on the real demands of each country. From China’s perspective, the relationship not only fulfills the basic needs of domestic reform and opening-up policy but also facilitates China’s participation and integration into the international system. At the same time, Sino-Russian relations face some challenges, including the countries’ different economic structures, the “expectations gap,” lack of coordination between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union, and increasing uncertainty in triangular relations among China, the U.S., and Russia.

  • China has prioritized building a peaceful environment for its development, and this goal will continue to drive its foreign policy toward Russia for the foreseeable future.
  • Sino-Russian relations are shaped by a third party (the U.S.) to a certain degree, but the partnership will not become an alliance against this third party.
  • Both China and Russia should pay more attention to the potential challenges to bilateral cooperation and work to stabilize their relationship in the future.

Ma Bin is an Associate Professor of International Studies in the Center for Russian and Central Asian Studies at Fudan University.

Zhang Jian is the Secretary-General in the Center for Russian Studies and a staff member in the Department of Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs Management at China Foreign Affairs University.