Russia and China are aim to jointly reconstruct the current world order as both countries perceived that it is mono-polar and double standard, according to the Russian Deputy Defense Minister.
According to General Anatoly Antonov, China emphasized that it has a similar position with Russia in terms of challenges and threats. “They [China] noted the necessity of reconstruction of the current world order, moving away from double standards and strengthening of equal and mutually profitable relations between all countries in the world,” said Antonov.
Gen. Antonov made the statement after the discussions between Sergey Shoigu, Defense Minister of Russia and Gen. Fan Changlong, deputy chairman of the Central Military Council of China.
Russia and China to conduct naval exercise
Gen. Antonov confirmed that Russia and China agreed to conduct the naval exercise in the Mediterranean Sea and Sea of Japan. According to him, the naval exercises in the East China Sea as well as the ground training of Russia and China forces within the framework of the “Peace Mission 2014” in Northern China led to practical results.
He added that Russia and China will prioritize their coordinated position on the global missile defense program. According to him, China’s delegation visited Russia’s “wartime government HQ” the newest top-security and fortified facility in Moscow.
The naval drills between Russia and China in the Mediterranean Sea demonstrate shifting strategies, according to Jonathan Marcus, a diplomatic correspondent for BBC News. He also noted that the increasing defense relationship between the two countries that “China’s maritime horizons are broadening.”
In the past, China did not consider the Mediterranean as an area of strategic concern unlike Russia [former Soviet Union]. However, the Chinese government perceived the importance of the region recent years due to its growing economic role, and its new focus is to shipping lanes for its trade.
Russia-China Cooperation Agreement
The defense officials of the two countries engaged in discussions days after the summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Presidents signed 32 separate bilateral agreements including the integration of the Eurasian Economic Union and Silk Road, a non-aggression pledge in cyberspace.
Pres. Putin described the integration of the Eurasian Economic Union and Silk Road projects as “a new level of partnership.” On the other hand, President Xi Ji Ping said, “We are strong if united but weak if isolated.”
Russia and China are seeking to challenge the dominance of the United States by creating new multilateral institutions. The Eurasian Economic Union is composed of Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Belarus with a combined GDP of more than $4 trillion.
On the other hand, the newly formed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank based in Beijing has 57 members including the United Kingdom. China’s major initiatives include the New Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. These two initiatives are referred together as “One Road, One Belt,” which is intended to make investments in road, rail, port, and pipeline across 65 countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe with a combined population of 4.4 billion.
China promised to invest billion in a railway between Moscow and Kazan. The countries also reached an agreement on a $2 billion agricultural investment fund and almost $1 billion line of credit for Russia’s Sberbank.
Russian and China also signed a memorandum agreement not to launch cyberattacks against each other and to reject initiatives that destabilize internal politics using the internet.
Russia-China relationship still fragile
Political analysts suggested that the relationship between Russia and China are still fragile and noted the fact that both countries are vying for influence in Central Asia.
According to them, the most visible problem was the failure of Putin and Xi to polish the terms of the $400 billion energy deal last year, which included plans to develop the remote Siberian oil and gas fields and deliver the output to China over the next 30 years.
Independent analysts suggested that the impasse in the energy deal showed that China could demand hard bargains with Russia since it is under economic crisis and Western sanctions.
Princeton University Professor Gilbert Gozman noted that Russia and China still have disputes over migration, territory, relations with Vietnam and other issues. According to him, the major issues between the two countries are being papered over.
“People who call this an axis of convenience are missing the bigger picture, “This is a relationship about national identity and the big efforts in both countries to establish a different kind of international order,” said Gozman.