There is the opinion in vogue among US politicians and military officers that there has been no Russia-China alliance or Russia and China though allying with each other will each pursue its own interests when the other is in war with the US.
The former is reflected in Leon Aron’s article “Are Russia and China Really Forming an Alliance?” published by Foreign Affairs on April 4 with the subtitle “The Evidence Is Less Than Impressive” while the latter was described by Robert Farley in his article “US Military’s Worst Nightmare: A War with Russia and China (at the Same Time)”
Leon Aron is a Russian refugee in the US. He is regarded as a Russia expert currently serving as a resident scholar and the director of Russian studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). He believes that “Chinese-Russian economic, foreign policy and military cooperation is less than impressive so that many foreign-policy experts are wrong in being convinced that an anti-US alliance between Russia and China is emerging.
China joined Russia in its veto of Western attempt of military intervention for regime change in Syria. Is that not military cooperation of emerging alliance?
When Russia annexes Crimea and provides military support to Ukraine local militia’s struggle for independence, China conducted large-scale reclamation to build artificial islands in the South China Sea. Was that not a move to divert West’s attention while attaining China’s own goal? The timing in Ukraine and South China Sea proves wonderful cooperation of alliance.
Russian president insisted on provision of top aircrafts for China with the argument that the sale was political instead of commercial. Did that not indicate that Russia-China alliance was taking shape?
When US President Trump threatens North Korea with military attack to force North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. Russia and China opposed Trump’s attack together.
When the US threatens Venezuela with war to force Venezuelan President Maduro to resign, China who has lots of interests in Venezuela does not send military to protect Maduro, but Russia does though it does not have significant interests there. Is that not military cooperation between the two countries?
The two allies have conducted cooperation wisely. For example when the West imposed sanctions on Russia due to the Ukraine issues, China does not join the West claiming that sanctions are useless. However, it silently provided Russia with economic assistance to make the sanctions useless. Do you think China did so out of the necessity to prove its argument that sanctions are useless?
On the other hand, China provides Russia with food procession technology to make effective Russian counter sanctions of banning import of European processed food. China provided Russia with food processing technologies to enable Russia to produce import substitutes for European processed food.
For a long time Russia had a plan for utilizing its rich agricultural resources to achieve food self-reliance so as to greatly reduce its expenditure of foreign exchange in importing processed food. Western sanctions provide Russia with justified reason to carry out the plan as retaliation of Western sanctions. Russian people suffered for some time the shortage of Western processed food but they supported the government’s counter sanctions. Chinese support had helped Russia overcome the shortage of processed food except Cheese.
There is a prevailing Western view that petrified egg is the worst Chinese food while almost all Chinese people regard cheese as the worst Western food. No wonder China is not able to make good cheese to supply Russia nor has China the technology to help Russia make good cheese.
As the West imposed sanctions with military intention, Chinese assistance to make Western sanction ineffective and Russian sanctions on the West effective shall be regarded as strong and effective military cooperation with Russia.
Leon Aron is stupid to regard the structure of Russian-Chinese trade as skewed. True Russia’s exports to China are mostly raw materials, especifically crude oil, wood, and coal while China’s sales to Russia are mostly consumer goods and electronics and machinery. That means the two countries’ economies are supplementary. When their trade lifelines are cut by the West, they will be able to supply each other’s needs. Such supplementary economies make them ideal allies.
The two countries’ leaders have met 25 times to design wise ways of cooperation. For example, China supports Russia’s actions in Ukraine and Syria but does so silently without hurting its relations with the West.
Russia takes strong measures to support Venezuela to help maintain Chinese interests there so that China need not take actions. As a result, China is able to avoid upsetting the US and creating obstacles to its talks with the US to end the trade war.
There cooperation in their arms race with the US is especially wise. Russia focuses on developing nuclear weapons to threaten the US so that the US has to allocate much financial resource to the improvement and development of its nuclear weapons. China, on the other hand, focuses on developing conventional weapons, especially aircraft carriers to put an end to US dominance of the oceans.
The US, though has a much larger military budget, has to take care of both nuclear and conventional weapons while China and Russia only to take care of one of the two sections of weapons so that their much smaller military budgets are enough.
Robert Farley is one of those who believe Russia-China alliance has really been emerging. He is an experienced analyst. He has written The Battleship Book and is a senior lecturer at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky. He published on National Interest an article titled “US Military’s Worst Nightmare: A War with Russia and China (at the Same Time)” on Russia-China alliance. The article can be viewed at http://nationalinterest.org/feature/us-militarys-worst-nightmare-war-russia-china-the-same-time-17490.
In the article he asks the question that plagues him: What if China and Russia sufficiently coordinated with one another to engage in simultaneous hostilities in the Pacific and in Europe?
However, he does not think it likely that China and Russia may coordinate a pair of crises to drive two separate US military responses as each country has its own goal. He believes, “More likely, one of the two would opportunistically take advantage of an existing crisis to further its regional claims. For example, Moscow might well decide to push the Baltic States if the United States became involved in a major skirmish in the South China Sea.”
In such a scenario, Europe is strong enough to deal with Russia with some support from US navy and air force. As a result the US may focus on dealing with China with almost all its navy and air force.
The article believes that US only has the difficulties in winning quickly in Asia in order to transfer its force to European theater as soon as possible.
According to current US military strength, it is indeed possible for the US to win first in Asia and then in Europe if China and Russia fight separately in two different theaters. However, what if China and Russia join force in fighting the US in one theater?
Chinese and Russian leaders are both very clever. They have so far designed very wise way of cooperation to cause trouble to the West, especially the United States.
If one of their countries is in war with the US, the other will certainly come to help its ally as it is common sense that they rely on each other to resist the US so that if one of them is defeated by the US, the other will not be able to resist the US without its ally’s help.
The US is not strong enough to fight both countries at the same time; therefore, Russia-China alliance is US military’s nightmare.
Article by Chan Kai Yee
Buildup of Mutual Trust between China and Russia
As there has been a long history of enmity between the two giant neighbors, it takes time to build mutual trust for the two to become allies in confronting the US. Russia welcomed China’s veto but still lacked trust in China. It wanted China’s large market for its oil, gas and other natural resources and needed Chinese consumer goods and investment, but refused to provide China with preferential treatment in selling natural resources to China. As a result, there were lots of difficulties for the two in concluding their huge natural gas deal.
Due to lack of trust in China, Russia refrained from joining China in criticizing Japan for Japan’s war crimes in World War II or clearly supporting China’s stances in East and South China Seas.
Fortunately for China, carried away by their success in removing Russian influence in the Middle East, the West began to take over Ukraine that Russia regarded as a vital area for its survival. Russia and the West had contended for the area for a long time since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Both had made great efforts to influence the presidential election in Ukraine. Ukraine people were thus split into the pro-EU and pro-Russia camps. There was roughly balance of strength between the two camps so that there was sometimes a pro-Russian and sometimes a pro-EU Ukrainian president. Before the recent civil war in Ukraine, Russia had succeeded in having a pro-Russia president elected in Ukraine. China supported the pro-Russia president with lots of aids when he visited China while Ukraine agreed to sell advanced weapons and weapon technology to China.
To further contain Russia, the EU wanted Ukraine to join EU, which may lead to Ukraine joining NATO in confronting Russia. The pro-Russia president opposed that. With EU support, the pro-EU camp launched a street revolution and overthrew the pro-Russia president. To have a NATO member as its neighbor is utterly unacceptable to Russia. It sent troops to annex Crimea and set up pro-Russia militia to fight for independence in Ukraine’s two major industrial states.
The US took the lead to interfere by imposing sanctions on Russia while China helped Russia counter the sanctions. The West led by the US has thus pushed Russia entirely into China’s arms.
South China Sea
In Asia, the US has intensified its pivot to Asia to contain China. It exploited China’s disputes with its neighbors in the South China Sea to pit China’s neighbors against China. It helped the Philippines obtain an arbitration ruling that entirely denies China’s historical rights and interests in the South China Sea and sent two aircraft carrier battle groups to force China to comply with the ruling. China simply rejects the ruling while Russia firmly supports China’s stance. The US has thus pushed China further into Russia’s arms. Now, there has been de facto alliance between China and Russia.
Obama’s diplomatic blunders have caused the US to have two powerful enemies. Perhaps, Obama looked down on Russia and believed that he can deal with China easily even if China had Russia as its ally to help it. However, some US military experts do not think so. They believe that Russia-China alliance is US military’s nightmare. Their worries will be described in the next post.
Article by Chan Kai Yee
Pavel Polityuk July 31, 2018
KIEV (Reuters) – Ukraine’s maize harvest may hit a record 27-28 million tonnes this year and sales to China could rise by 10 percent due to the trade war between Washington and Beijing, the country’s acting agriculture minister said.
Ukrainian acting Agriculture Minister Maksym Martyniuk speaks during an interview with Reuters in Kiev, Ukraine September 8, 2017. Picture taken September 8, 2017. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
China has accused the United States of triggering the “largest-scale trade war” with import duties, potentially giving a further boost to already booming grain and oilseed exports from the Black Sea region.
“For some positions, such as soybean, we will get an increase in exports to new markets,” Maksym Martyniuk told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday.
Ukraine has exported 2.6 million tonnes of maize to China so far in the 2017/18 September-August season, out of total sales of 16.6 million tonnes.
“Maize will traditionally go to China. We can increase (maize) exports to China by up to 10 percent,” Martyniuk said, adding that maize could hit a record 27-28 million tonnes this year, compared with 24.1 million tonnes in 2017.
Weather conditions have favored crops sown late in the season this year and a strong maize crop may compensate for a drop in the 2018 wheat harvest, which is likely to decrease by 12-16 percent to 22-23 million tonnes due to poor weather.
Drought during the spring and torrential rains in summer have affected Ukrainian winter crops, raising concerns on a possible decrease in the harvest and its quality.
“Due to weather conditions, we will have a minus in winter crops, from rapeseed to winter wheat,” Martyniuk said.
“But the condition of late crops such as soybeans and maize is excellent and without extreme weather they will give an increase in comparison with last year, he said.
Ukrainian acting Agriculture Minister Maksym Martyniuk speaks during an interview with Reuters in Kiev, Ukraine September 8, 2017. Picture taken September 8, 2017. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
He said Ukraine might harvest at least 60 million tonnes of grain this year, versus 61.3 million a year earlier.
Martyniuk said the weather was favorable for the sunflower harvest and Ukraine, the global leading sunflower oil exporter, was likely to harvest 13.3 million tonnes of sunseed this year, the second highest harvest since 1991.
Ukraine harvested 61.3 million tonnes of grain in 2017, with most wheat harvested in Ukraine’s central and southern regions.
Martyniuk said recent rains across most Ukrainian regions had partially affected the quality of wheat, but it was too early to give an exact proportion.
“In the central and western parts of Ukraine almost all harvested wheat is forage class while in the southern regions there are no problems with quality and some regions managed to thresh wheat before the rains,” he said, adding it was not clear yet exactly how much milling wheat would be harvested.
Ukraine has harvested 17 million tonnes of wheat from 76 percent of the sowing area so far and market sources said around 10 million tonnes of the harvested wheat is milling wheat.
But Martyniuk forecast a possible deficit of wheat seeds for the forthcoming sowing, without giving any details.
Martyniuk said Ukraine was likely to keep its grain exports at last’s season level of around 40 million tonnes and had already shipped abroad 1.5 million tonnes of various grains.
Ukraine exported 39.4 million tonnes of grain in the 2017/18 season which runs from July to June, this included 17.2 million tonnes of wheat and 17.8 million of maize.
Editing by Matthias Williams and Alexander Smith
Source: Reuters “Ukraine expects record maize harvest, rising sales to China”
Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
Popular Science’s September-9 article “China’s J-20 stealth fighter may be getting a new engine” that I reblogged on September 12 says that there is recently a new J-20 prototype no. 2021 installed with a new WS-10X engine better stealth with 14-15 ton vector thrust that enables J-20 to conduct supersonic supercruise without using fuel-thirsty afterburners.
According to the article, China is able to make such good aircraft engines as it has made breakthrough in rhenium-nickel superalloy technology. The article says, “Previously, the development of Chinese engines like the WS-10 were delayed as they suffered from quality control issues regarding single crystal turbine blades. China’s mastery of the rhenium superalloy (and by the private sector, no less) won’t just help China build current fighter engines, but also quickly research more capable, higher tech models.”
Why is China able to make such breakthrough so quickly? Global Times says in its article “Experts clarify rumor of changes in aircraft engine cooperation: Cooperation achievements in display” on September 20, “From the manufacturing point of view, China is relatively weak in the technology of making and casting of single crystal alloys, powder metallurgy, etc. In Russian-Ukraine system, those technologies have already been applied for more than one or several decades. They have played a great boosting role in improving China’s aircraft engines.”
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Popular Science and Global Times’ articles, full text of which can respectively been found at http://www.popsci.com/china-stealth-fighter-new-engine and http://mil.huanqiu.com/observation/2017-09/11264854_3.html. The latter is in Chinese.
SCMP published a report titled “Chinese firm’s stake in Ukraine military aircraft engine maker ‘frozen’” on September 16 but retrieved it the next day.
The report says “The Ukrainian security services allege that the purchase of the company’s stock by groups controlled by Beijing Skyrizon Aviation was an attempt to take its assets out of the country, leading to its liquidation, the news agency Interfax-Ukraine reported.
“A court in Kiev froze shares for a 41 per cent stake in the firm owned by offshore companies controlled by Beijing Skyrizon last week, according to the article.”
However, lots of aircraft engines are displayed as achievements of cooperation between Motor Sich and Beijing Skyrizon Aviation and the two companies signed quite a few major cooperation projects in Beijing Airshow that opened on September 19.
What then is the truth of the cooperation between the two companies?
To learn the truth, Global Times has made an investigation and interviewed relevant people and found that the allegation about changes in the cooperation was groundless. It published a report titled “Experts clarify rumor of changes in aircraft engine cooperation: Cooperation achievements in display” that quotes Motor Sich CEO Boguslavyev as saying, “Our goal is to firmly perform the agreements with Skyrizon and we have already made major achievements. All leaders and all staff and workers in Motor Sich are very proud that we come to China to cooperate with Skyrizon.”
What China wants is Motor Sich’s technology. It does not matter whether China can obtain a controlling shareholding in Motor Sich as long as it can get its technology.
The allegation that China wants to move Motor Sich’s assets to China is absurd. As Motor Sich has not been sufficiently profitable, it has not upgraded its equipment for quite a long time. China is now able to produce more advanced equipment than what Motor Sich has. Why should China incur the costs to purchase and move equipment less advanced than what China has? The takeover of shareholding aims at obtaining technology alone instead of taking over less advanced equipment.
Moreover, the cooperation between the two enterprises is mutual beneficial. It not only enables China to obtain technology but also provide much needed funds for Motor Sich to replace its outdated equipment with advanced Chinese ones. In fact the cooperation also enables Motor Sich to obtain Chinese technology, for example, the technology of 3D printing for production of large structural parts.
In its report yesterday, the Voice of America showed its happiness that the US has succeeded in preventing China from taking over a major aircraft engine producer in the world. The US often fails to consider other countries’ interests. It does not care that if China does not invest in Motor Sich, Motor Sich may bankrupt leaving more than 20,000 staff and workers unemployed. Besides, it cares about control only but does not seek win-win cooperation that benefits both parties.
In the South China Sea, it only wants the Philippines to help it contain China but fails to protect Philippines’ interests. As a result, it loses the Philippines to China.
The situation of Motor Sich-Skyrizon cooperation is different, US selfishness only prevents the takeover but the win-win cooperation remains. As a result, it is a win-win-win conclusion. China and Ukraine are winners of cooperation, the US is also a winner, winner in preventing an equity takeover, which makes it happy mentally though brings it no actual benefit.
However, that is the limit of US ability. Global Times says China and France jointly developed helicopter engine is also shown in the airshow. France is US ally, but the US cannot stop such cooperation as it benefits both the Chinese and French parties. Such win-win cooperation makes China popular while US will be increasingly unpopular if it keeps on blocking such mutual beneficial cooperation.
No wonder China is making progress and obtaining technology so fast while the US becomes increasingly stagnant.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Global Times, Voice America and SCMP’s reports. Full text of SCMP’s report can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2111493/chinese-firms-stake-ukraine-military-aircraft-engine
Global Times and Voice of America’s reports are both in Chinese and given summary translation by this blogger. Full text in Chinese can respectively be found at http://mil.huanqiu.com/observation/2017-09/11264854_3.html and https://www.voachinese.com/a/news-ukraine-froze-the-stake-china-bought-in-aircraft-engine-20170929/4036877.html.
In its report “FIRST AIRCRAFT ENGINE ASSEMBLED IN CHINA USING MOTOR SICH TECHNOLOGY COULD BE SHOWN BY LATE 2017 – KUBIV” on May 23, open4business.com.ua says Ukraine and China will set up a joint venture between its PJSC Motor Sich (Zaporizhia) and China’s Beijing Skyrizon Aviation Industry Investment Co. Ltd. to use Ukrainian technology to produce aircraft engines.
China can make advanced fighter jets but cannot equip them with advanced Chinese or imported aircraft engines. It has an urgent need to import engine technology but no one is willing to provide until Ukraine is willing to provide now.
Ukraine on the other hand needs funds to improve its aircraft engine technology. The report says that China will provide US$250 million for PJSC Motor Sich’s modernization.
Mil.huanqiu.com says in its report “Ukrainian first prime minister visit a mystic place: Perhaps very good for Chinese aircraft engine industry” on May 23 that after attending the One Belt One Road summit, Ukrainian First Vice Prime Minister Stepan Kubiv visited a Chinese private aircraft engine producer in Chongqing, China and reached agreement with China for the establishment of an aircraft engine joint venture to provide China with Ukrainian aircraft engine technology.
Ukraine has helped China build aircraft carriers and world largest air-cushioned landing crafts, but refused to provide China with its aircraft engine technology in spite of China’s repeated requests. The establishment of the aircraft engine joint venture means the further strengthening of the strategic relations between Ukraine and China so that Ukraine is now willing to provide China with the best of its military technology.
China has allocated 100 billion yuan (USD160 billion) for development of advanced aircraft engines to meet its urgent need for advanced aircraft engines to equip its stealth fighters J-20 and J-31. The joint venture will greatly facilitate China’s achievement of that goal.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on open4business.com.ua and mil.huanqiu.com’s reports. Mil.huanqiu.com’s report is in Chinese and a summary translation of it is given in the post. Full text of it in Chinese can be viewed at http://mil.huanqiu.com/observation/2017-05/10717781.html while that of open4business.com.ua’s report is reblogged below:
FIRST AIRCRAFT ENGINE ASSEMBLED IN CHINA USING MOTOR SICH TECHNOLOGY COULD BE SHOWN BY LATE 2017 – KUBIV
23 May , 2017
KYIV. May 23 (Interfax-Ukraine) – The first aircraft engine assembled in China under Ukrainian technologies within the framework of strategic partnership between PJSC Motor Sich (Zaporizhia) and China’s Beijing Skyrizon Aviation Industry Investment Co. Ltd. could be demonstrated by late 2017, Ukraine’s First Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Economic Development and Trade Stepan Kubiv has said.
During a briefing held in Kyiv and dedicated to the results of a recent visit of the Ukrainian delegation to China to participate in a high-level dialogue within the framework of the “One Belt. One Road” forum, the deputy premier highlighted the agreements achieved on Ukrainian-Chinese cooperation in the aircraft engine industry, saying the creation of aircraft engines production in Chongqing under Ukrainian technologies is “one of the priorities of the government.”
“Skyrizon and Motor Sich will create a joint venture for production of aircraft engines using Ukrainian technologies in China’s Chongqing. We want in 2017 to show the first engine that will be assembled at this plant,” Kubiv said.
He also welcomed the plans of the Chinese side envisaged by the cooperation program to invest $250 million in the modernization of Motor Sich, noting that the implementation of the program of Ukrainian-Chinese strategic cooperation in the field of aircraft engine building will strengthen the positions and influence of the Ukrainian aviation industry in the world market.
IHS 360 Jane’s says in its report on November 7 titled “Airshow China 2016: Ukraine’s Motor Sich to begin licensed production in China” that China has set up a joint venture with Ukraine’s Motor Sich for licensed production of Ukrainian aircraft engines including the D-136, MS-500V and TV3-117VMA-SBM1V turboshaft helicopter engines; the AI-450S general aviation aircraft engine; the D436-148FM and D-18T high-bypass turbofan engines; the D-27 counter-rotating, dual-propeller turboprop engine that was originally designed for the Antonov An-70 programme; and the AI-222 series of military jet engines.
Details of the report can be found at http://www.janes.com/article/65323/airshow-china-2016-ukraine-s-motor-sich-to-begin-licensed-production-in-china.
Source: IHS 360 Jane’s “Airshow China 2016: Ukraine’s Motor Sich to begin licensed production in China”
Over the past two centuries, China and Russia were seldom good neighbors except in the decade from February 1950 when they were allies under a treaty of alliance called “The Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance and Mutual Assistance” between Russia’s predecessor the Soviet Union and China.
The treaty has a term of 30 years but not the friendship or alliance. The alliance between China and the Soviet Union could not last so long. Soon, their traditional enmity prevailed. They broke up within one decade.
Perhaps, it was just as Stephen Blank, a senior fellow for Russia at the American Foreign Policy Council, points out, “every alliance has a horse and a rider.” In the 1950s, the Soviet Union had to be the rider as it was much richer and stronger. China did not want to remain Soviet Union’s horse when it had grown stronger. It wanted to be the rider too. The two began to fight for leadership of the socialist camp. However, their alliance remained in supporting Vietnam in its war with the US. They both gave Vietnam generous aids while China even sent troops to help Vietnam with its air defense.
Only when their fight worsened into a border war could the US be benefited from the breakup of their alliance. The Soviet Union deployed lots of tanks along Chinese border. To hinder Soviet tanks’ advance, China dug canals parallel to its border. There was large-scale construction of tunnels as air-raid shelters in China. Mao, the Chinese tyrant with military talents, adopted Sun Tzu’s strategy to subdue the enemy by diplomacy. He took the initiative to improve ties with the US. Scared by a possible alliance between the US and China, the Soviet Union agreed to ease tension along the border. In addition, it began to improve its relations with the US. There were détente and nuclear disarmament as a result.
How can the two long-term enemies become close allies? Perhaps, historic enmity can be disregarded for future benefit. The alliance of Germany and France in establishing the EU is a good example. However, that are the lessons they have learnt from two disastrous world wars. The border disputes between China and Russia were much more serious than those between Germany and France.
Chinese people know from reading history that under Russian threat, China cede 2 million square kilometers of land to Russia, but perhaps they do not know China has lost more. I was fond of reading maps when I was very young. In the old map before communist takeover in 1949, there were two Mongolia provinces in China, one Inner and the other Outer Mongolia. Later, in the new map published after communist takeover, China’s Outer Mongolia Province became Mongolian People’s Republic, an independent country. Puzzled by that, I asked older people. They told me that Russia and later its successor the Soviet Union had tried hard to split Outer Mongolia from China, made it declare independence in 1921 and turned it into Soviet Union’s satellite state, but China did not recognize its independence until the Chinese and Soviet communists became allies in the 1950s.
Therefore, Russia certainly is on its alert when China grows strong for fear that China may start a war to recover the land ceded to Russia and take Mongolia back as a part of China.
Russian’s Far East is an area with great development potential but Russian government has achieved little in developing the area in spite of its great efforts because Russian people do not want to move to that area.
Chinese people, however, are fond of finding opportunities there. First, they remember well the history that Russia pressured China’s weak and incompetent Qing Dynasty to cede 2 million square kilometers of land to Russia more than a century ago. Quite a few Chinese hold that China shall fight Russia to recover the ceded land. However, they do not know exactly where the 2 million square kilometers is. They do not care but just go into Russia to find a place they can settle down and regard the place as a part of the 2 million square kilometers.
The border between China and Russia is very long and a vast area of Russia along the border is sparsely populated. Russia shall have lots of border guards to intercept illegal immigrants. However, Russia lacks funds to keep so many border troops there nor are Russian troops willing to station in the barren cold land.
Since there are few people in the vast Russian area to the north of China’s Northeast, people in Northeast China believe entering that vast area to try their luck is a better choice. They have moved into the area illegally in large number. They brought much needed funds and diligent labor to Russia’s vast Far East and have made the area to some extent prosperous. Local Russian people are happy. They enjoy the better life caused by the immigration.
Moreover, there are more girls than boys in Russia resulting in difficulties for girls to find husbands. There are, however, more boys than girls in China. Chinese boys are welcome to marry Russian girls there. As a result, there are not only lots of Chinese immigrants but even lots of Chinese families with Russian wives. Russian government is seriously worried: China is turning Russia’s Far East into Chinese colony.
That is pure bloodless colonization of Russian territories. How can Russia not treat China as invader, aggressor and colonizer?
Central Asia is another area of conflicts between China and Russia. Russia has the dream to recover its glorious past. Not exactly the glorious past of the Soviet Union as one of the two superpowers in the world, but at least as a world power as Russia always was before the establishment of the Soviet Union. Central Asian countries were members of the Soviet Union as they were parts of the old Russia before the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union has collapsed, but Russia still has great influence in Central Asia. It has the ambition to take Central Asian countries back or at least retain them as its sphere of influence.
China has been making lots of investment to build infrastructures in those countries in order to exploit the natural resources there, especially oil and gas. The infrastructures, in addition, facilitate transfer of some Chinese industries to exploit the cheap labor there. China’s win-win cooperation with them may draw those Central Asian countries away from Russia to Chinese side.
India and Vietnam have long been Russia’s sphere of influence, but China is now providing them with loans and investment and may thus draw them to China’s side.
China’s military modernization provides a lucrative weapon market for Russia. Russia has made lots of profits from weapon sales to China, but there is serious problem: China learns Russian technology through reverse engineering. It uses Russian technology to produce copies of Russian weapons not only for itself but also for export to compete with Russia in international weapon market.
If Chinese economy grows at its current slowed but still fast rate, it will have much more funds for weapon development. Russia is afraid that China may soon surpass it in weapon technology and become Russia’s fierce rival in international weapon market.
The above conflicts of interests are impossible to reconcile. How can China and Russia become allies in disregard of such serious conflict of interests?
Faced with US military threat from Obama’s pivot to Asia, China has no choice but seeking alliance with Russia as Russia is the only country strong and willing enough to help China counter the US. China has made great efforts to make Russia trust it, but without unqualified success.
In fact, while selling China advanced weapons to help China modernize its military, Russia worried that when the threat in East and South China Seas had been removed, China might transfer its troops to its north to deal with Russia and possibly for recovery of the 2 million square kilometers of land ceded to Russia by China’s Qing Dynasty or annexation of Mongolia.
In September 2014, Russia conducted a large military exercise dubbed “Vostok 2014” in its Far East near Chinese border. Analysts say that it has been the largest Russian drill since the collapse of the Soviet Union. They believe the drill was meant to deter China.
For a long time, Russia has wanted to end or modify the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty between the U.S. and Russia in order to be able to have a strong deterrent on its border with China.
In its diplomacy, though refrains from explicitly antagonize China, Russia has tried its best to mend ties with Japan. During Russian President Putin’s visits to Vietnam and India respectively in late 2013 and 2014, Putin made efforts to strengthen its longtime alliance with the two countries in order to have allies to counter China if China’s rise becomes a threat to Russia.
The historical enmity and serious conflict of interests make it impossible for the two countries to be allies. The breakup of their alliance in the 1950’s precisely proves that.
In addition, according to US gifted political scientist Samuel Huntington’s views on clash of civilizations, Russia and China have two quite different civilizations so that clash of civilizations seems unavoidable especially as they share a long border.
However, history has proved that there is no eternal friendship or enmity. Friendship has to be built while enmity can be removed as well as created. It all depends on state leaders’ vision, wisdom and tact.
France and Germany had bitter enmity for decades, which gave rise to countless wars and even world wars. However, the leaders and peoples have learnt the lessons from their cruel wars and have the wisdom to make hard efforts to set up the European Union to become close allies within the union.
Russia is lucky that Obama’s pivot to Asia has pushed China to its side. Without any efforts of persuasion, US loyal follower China who even supported US decision to bring regime change in Libya at the expense of Russia, suddenly switched to Russia’s side to join Russia in vetoing US-initiated UN Security Council Decision aimed at bringing about regime change in Syria. Russia welcomed China but still lacked trust in China. It wanted China’s large market for its oil, gas and other natural resources and needed Chinese consumer goods and investment, but refused to provide China with preferential treatment in selling resources to China. As a result, there were lots of difficulties for the two in reaching their huge natural gas deal.
Due to lack of trust in China, Russia refrained from joining China in criticizing Japan for Japan’s war crimes in World War II or clearly supporting China’s stance in East and South China Seas.
Fortunately for China, carried away by their success in removing Russian influence in the Middle East, the West began to take over Ukraine that Russia regarded as a vital area for its survival. Russia and the West had contended for the area for a long time since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Both had made great efforts to influence the presidential election in Ukraine. Ukraine people were thus split into two camps: the pro-EU and pro-Russia camps. There was roughly balance of strength between the two camps so that there was sometimes a pro-Russian and sometimes a pro-EU president. Before the recent civil war in Ukraine, Russia had succeeded in having a pro-Russia president elected in Ukraine. China supported the pro-Russia president with lots of aids when he visited China. Ukraine at the same time agreed to sell advanced weapons and weapon technology to China.
To further contain Russia, the EU wanted Ukraine to join EU, which may lead to Ukraine joining NATO in confronting Russia. The pro-Russia president opposed that. With EU support, the pro-EU camp launched a street revolution and overthrew the president. To have a NATO member as its neighbor is utterly unacceptable to Russia. It sent troops to annex Crimea and set up pro-Russia militia to fight for independence in Ukraine’s two major industrial states.
Believing neither China or Russia can be US rival and the impossibility of Russia-China alliance, in addition to pushing China fully to Russia’s side, Obama took the lead to impose stringent sanctions to push Russia to Chinese side. China took the opportunity to help Russia to counter the sanctions. Obama has thus pushed Russia entirely into China’s arms.
The leaders see that in spite of all the differences and historical enmity that may give rise to clash of civilizations, the two countries have similar dreams for the recovery of their past glory that are supplementing instead of conflicting each other.
Russia wants its recovery as a European power as it always was in the past. The Soviet Union was a world superpower, but the major area of its dominance was in developed Europe instead of Asia. In spite of Tzars’ expansion to the east and Soviet attempt to develop Russia’s vast Asian part, Russia’s Far East remains underdeveloped and Russian people are not interested in moving to the east to develop eastern Russia.
To avoid China’s colonization of its Far East, Russia sets the precondition that in order to settle down in Russia a Chinese shall marry a Russian and then be naturalized. China has no objection. It explains to Russia that lots of Chinese have moved to Southeast Asia and other parts of the world without colonizing the areas they occupied. They have merged into local communities and helped develop local economy though kept some Chinese customs. They have never tried to dominate the politics there though they may have controlled the economy there.
China is happy that Russia can provide space for China’s surplus population while Russia is happy to absorb redundant Chinese people to prevent shrinking of its population and develop its underdeveloped areas its own people are unwilling to go to develop.
Chinese dream for recovery of its glorious past aims at growing strong to be able to resist foreign bullies. In Chinese history, China usually has no desire of expansion; therefore, China’s rise constitutes no threat to Russia. On the contrary, China will provide a huge market for Russia’s energy and other natural resources.
Central Asia may be an area of conflicts between China and Russia, but it is not as China makes clear it only want to joint force with Central Asian countries in developing their infrastructures and exploiting their natural resources to be economically benefited. It utterly has no intention to interfere with the politics there. Russia will thus be able to work for the recovery of political control of those former members of the Soviet Union without Chinese interference while benefiting from the economic development in those areas brought about by China.
So are China’s ties with India and Vietnam. They are economic but not political.
China’s sincerity has won Russian trust. It has not taken advantage of Russia’s predicament to ask for unreasonable terms in its transactions with Russia. They now have not only overcome their difficulties in concluding gas deal but have set up joint ventures to develop large airliners and helicopters.
However, the alliance of the two is indeed an alliance of necessity under US threat. Will the alliance break when the threat has been removed? I will try to answer the question in my next post.
Article by Chan Kai Yee
A recent deal between Beijing and Ukraine’s Antonov Company to restart production of the largest-ever cargo plane could potentially remedy the logistical woes of China’s People’s Liberation Army.
China’s military, still largely dependent on railroads for moving troops and heavy freight, could gain a lot from having the gigantic aircraft.
The plane, the AN-225 Mriya, holds 240 world records for its size and strength. It has six massive engines creating over 300,000 pounds of thrust, and the plane can reportedly carry a 200-ton load nearly 2,500 miles.
Such capability would be game-changing for the People’s Republic of China.
“It would provide China with the large and global lift that not even the US has possessed, except by rental,” wrote Peter Singer, an avid China watcher on Popular Science. “It’s large enough to carry helicopters, tanks, artillery, even other aircraft.”
For the most part, as Singer mentioned, China will rent the massive planes, but the agreement does allow for China to domestically build An-225s.
Additionally, the Center for Strategic and International Studies uncovered the fact that China has been developing large, military-grade runways, as well as military hardened hangars on it’s reclaimed islands in the South China Sea. Having massively improved freight dynamics in the region could greatly benefit China.
But the herculean plane lends itself to civil applications too. China could easily use it to move construction supplies, to offload its glut of steel, or to bring supplies to its several building projects as part of the “One Belt, One Road” initiative.
As Marcus Weisgerber at DefenseOne points out, the adoption of old, soviet-era technology from Ukraine is an instance of history repeating itself, as China’s sole aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, is also a refurbished Ukrainian hull.
Source: We Are The Mighty “China is trying to expand its military reach with the biggest plane in the world”
According to mil.huanqiu.com’s report on September 2, a mystic Chinese company AICC has signed a cooperation agreement with Ukraine’s Antonov Aeronautical Scientist/Technical Complex on the purchase of Ukraine’s second A225 transport aircraft and the cooperation in batch production of A225s in China.
A225 is world largest transport aircraft able to carry 180 tons of load. Chinese aircraft expert Wang Yanan regards the transport as too large to have much use for China.
This blogger however believes that through A225 China can learn from Ukraine the technology for the construction world largest aircraft and use such technology in building China’s long-range strategic bomber.
The above photos show the world only A225 landing on China to deliver goods from Germany and the half finished world second A225 that Antonov says has been well preserved. Antonov will finish building it into an improved version of A225 for China.
Source: mil.huanqiu.com “China to build world largest transport aircraft? A mystic company has signed agreement” and “Ukraine makes public the current situation of the body of the second A225” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the reports in Chinese)