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Written by Dmitri Trenin, 13 February 2012
Beijing and Moscow share the goal of curbing US power, but will not become allies. Moscow rejects a junior role, while China sees Russia as a fading power.
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Over the past 20 years, Russia has ceased to be a superpower while China has become the world's second largest economy. How has this dramatic shift in fortunes changed the way they see each other? Dmitri Trenin argues that while Russia still relies on Western technology for economic modernisation, it sees Beijing as an increasingly useful partner in curbing US power. China's rise, Moscow hopes, will provide Russia with more breathing room. To Beijing, Russia's decline is but one of many changes that have accompanied China's rapid growth. The US dominates Chinese thinking but Russia is important to Beijing's effort to balance US power, and as a source of energy. Despite their overlapping interests, the two countries are not allies. Moscow will not accept a junior position vis-à-vis Beijing, while the Chinese regard Russia as a fading power.
Dmitri Trenin is director of the Carnegie Moscow Centre.