China-Russia relations have been said to show strong vitality and broad prospects after weathering the changing international landscape throughout the past seven decades and have become an example for a new type of major-country relations featuring close cooperation, partnership instead of alliance and dialogue, instead of confrontation. The China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era has become a major-country relationship featuring the highest degree of mutual trust, the highest level of coordination and the highest strategic value. This partnership does not target any third party and will not be affected by any third party — to worried minds in the West.
Russia has been assisting China with defense projects such as a new missile early warning radar system to add new quality to the defense capability of their strategic partner. Although the missile early warning radar system being developed by the two countries for China’s use was defensive in nature, it signaled a new degree of collaboration for neighbors with a much longer history of mutual suspicion. Seventy years after establishing ties, Russia and China have overcome much of their Cold War-era bickering and both sides describe their ties as being the best they’ve ever been. (O’Conner, 2019)
However, there is current unease at the actual border between Russia and China. More than 2,000 Chinese nationals crossed the land border checkpoint at Suifenhe before it was shut on 7 April. The influx of Chinese nationals returning from Moscow has turned the border town with a population of 70,000, into China’s new Covid-19 hotspot. Since Thursday, a total of 346 Chinese nationals returning from Moscow through Suifenhe contracted Covid-19. The total number of imported cases in China stood at 1,534 as of Thursday.
The shutdown of borders between the two countries has demonstrated the awkward situation China faces when dealing with an ally like Russia. The decision to close the borders came from Beijing’s concerns over growing domestic complaints that Russia had become the top source of imported Covid-19 cases in China. Beijing likely does not want to emphasise that a growing number of imported Covid-19 cases are coming from one of its most closest partners and both sides appear willing to downplay the unease at the border. (Yang, 2020)
O’Connor, Tom. (2019, December 20). Russia and China Seek No ‘Military Alliance’, Instead a ‘Stratetgic Partnership’ of the Most Powerful Kind.
Retreived from https://www.newsweek.com/russia-china-no-alliance-powerful-partnership-1478556
Yang, Tommy. (2020, April 18). Unease at the Border: Russia and China Seek to Downplay Covid-19 Outbreak in Suifenhe.
Retreived from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/18/unease-at-the-border-russia-and-china-seek-to-downplay-covid-19-outbreak-in-suifenhe