China's perspective on Russia. Assessing how Beijing views and values its relationship with Moscow now and later


  • Christopher Weidacher Hsiung

Publish date: 2022-10-27

Report number: FOI-R--5267--SE

Pages: 95

Written in: English


  • China
  • Russia
  • international relations
  • security studies


This report examines China's bilateral relationship with Russia. This is done by analysing the key motivations in its engagement, while also highlighting challenges that impact the nature and future development of the relationship. Six main motivations have been identified: maintaining stable and secure border relations; garnering support to ensure domestic regime security; deepening military cooperation in counterbalancing the US; managing and upholding stability in Central Asia; improving economic and technology cooperation; and enhancing coordination on global affairs. Regarding challenges, four have been identified: history and mutual mistrust; competing regional interests; different views regarding the coming global order; and limitations in economic exchange. Additionally, the report explores scenarios for the Sino-Russian relationship by discussing three different roles Russia can play for China by 2030: formal ally; competitor; and strategic supporter. The role of strategic supporter is assumed to be most likely. Russia's invasion of Ukraine is testing the Sino-Russian relationship and it is uncertain how the war will affect it in the years to come. Nonetheless, Russia is assuming an increasingly important role in China's strategic efforts to counterbalance the US. As long as Beijing perceives the US as the key security threat, Russia will continue to play a strategic role for China.