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Russia Guide > Russia China Relations

Russia China Relations

As 2012 began, many experts suggest that relations between Russia and China are better now than at any stage throughout history. Naturally, it hasn’t always been this way but at present, the two superpowers are working more closely together  than ever before.

Improving relationship

The same experts will also point to the fall of the Soviet Union as the major turning point between these two nations and declare those events as the catalyst for an improvement in Russia China relations.

Once the new Russian Federation had been established, the long land border between the two countries was demarcated by the 1991 Sino-Soviet Border Agreement. This helped to clear up long standing disputes between the two nations and minor territorial areas were exchanged.

Ten years later, the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation was signed between Russia and China with a view to mutual economic assistance and peaceful relations.

A Fractious History

Relations between Russia and China had often been tense throughout the course of history but they reached a low point during the 20th century and the days of Communist rule. However, as the Bolsheviks seized power the early signs were that a thawing of simmering hostilities could be imminent.

Lenin had openly voiced his intentions to address some of the unequal treaties that were placed on the Qing dynasty by Imperialist Russia but these promises were never kept. From this point right through to the late 1950’s however, relations between the two were calm and co-operative and the Sino-Soviet alliance saw Russia provide military assistance to China in the Korean War.

Sino-Soviet Split

Things were to change in dramatic fashion however with the Sino-Soviet split of 1961. The leaders of the two nations at the time, Mao Zedong and Nikita Khrushchev appeared in public as Allies whereas in truth they were sworn ideological enemies.

It seems that from around 1956, the two Marxist ideals adhered to by the two countries began to follow different paths and ultimately, the Chinese referred to their Soviet neighbours as “The Revisionist Traitor Group of Soviet Leadership”.

With the split finally becoming official at the start of the 1960’s, tensions continued between these nations until the collapse of Soviet rule.

Restoring Relations

The Soviet Union stumbled throughout the 1980’s until its ultimate collapse in 1991 and almost immediately, the new Russian Federation set about restoring their alliance with China and sought to repair the relations that had suffered so much in the preceding thirty years.

The demarcation of the border between the two sought to resolve disputed territories including those at the Argun and Amur Rivers, Lake Khanka and the joint border with North Korea.

Ten years later, the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation reinforced the work that had been carried out and continued to mend bridges between the two powers. Over ten years later, efforts continue for a peaceful and mutually beneficial existence.

It is probably true that Russia China relations are currently better than ever and much of the world hopes that they continue to stay that way.

Matt Harris

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