MOSCOW/BEIJING – During the last two weeks, Russian President Vladimir Putin has met with a Chinese top official twice. As for Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin meets with him at least 5 times a year. They’re connected not only by business relations but also by friendship. And friendship isn’t an empty word for the Chinese people. Under Putin, Russian-Chinese thaw from the late 1990s/early 2000s gained the outline of a full-blown alliance.
The prospects of having to fight a united Russia and China was always a strategic nightmare for the West. And it almost happened in the starting years of the Cold War. However, pragmatic strategic thinking on part of the West used the Sino-Soviet disagreements and helped cause the definite Sino-Soviet split during late ’50s/early ’60s. The relations remained strained until the collapse of the USSR while being rather cold during the disastrous Yeltsin era.
However, in 2001, a Treaty of Friendship between Russia and China was signed. It laid the groundwork for the strategic partnership the two countries enjoy nowadays. And its main instigator (and keeper) was Vladimir Putin. His excellent relations with all Chinese leaders in the last 19 years, and especially his friendship with Xi Jinping, have cemented the alliance and also expanded the cooperation beyond the political and military scope, with economic and trade relations reaching an all-time high.
Putin’s support for China also came in the form of multiple military high-technology transfers, which helped China become a virtual military superpower, closely behind Russia and the United States. The recently-held military parade in Beijing showed just that.