China and Russia are two of the biggest threats to the U.S. national security. The two countries are coming closer to challenge the U.S. hegemony. China and Russia conducted joint naval exercises in the Mediterranean Sea earlier this year, and they will hold another naval drill later this month in the Sea of Japan.
China, Russia both developing hypersonic weapons
However, relations between Moscow and Beijing haven’t always been good. China and the Soviet Union went on a war in the 1960s over territorial disputes. Currently, Russia controls the disputed area along the Ussuri River line. What if a resurgent China challenges Russia’s control over the disputed region?
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China has been aggressively building up its military to counter the U.S. influence in the Pacific region. But its high-tech weapons could easily be pointed towards Russia in the event of war. In June, Beijing successfully tested its hypersonic missile Wu-14 that travels at ten times the speed of sound. The weapon could hit Moscow in less than 20 minutes.
Russia has also been developing its hypersonic launch vehicle Yu-71 under the Project 4022. But its latest test in February was a failure. Russia has Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E, the most advanced Russian fighter jet in operation. This air superiority fighter carries an enormous payload and has highly advanced suite of avionics. China is developing its fifth-generation Chengdu J-20 fighter.
In the event of war, China may seize Vladivostok, the home to Russia’s Pacific Fleet. Beijing currently operates four Type 071 amphibious landing platform ships. Each can carry up to 800 troops and 18 armored vehicles. On the other hand, Russia has sophisticated attack submarines like the new Borei-class and the Severodvinsk-class.
A major war between China and Russia unlikely
China still uses a large number of Russian military hardware such as the advanced S-400 surface-to-air missile systems. The S-400 can track up to 100 targets simultaneously and engage 12 at the same time. On the other hand, Russia has S-400s as well as the highly advanced BrahMos developed in collaboration with India. BrahMos is a supersonic anti-ship missile that can launch from submarines, aircraft, ships, and from land.
Both China and Russia have a large nuclear arsenal. And they both know the consequences of a major war. A full-fledged war between the two countries seems unlikely considering they both are trying to improve relations to counter the United States. But a minor conflict may not be ruled out.