CHINA TOPIX

Updated 10:35 AM EDT, Thu, Apr 18, 2019

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China and Russia Deepen Ties; A Signal To The U.S.?

China and Russia deepened their economic ties on Friday, May 8, after signing several agreements, which include a deal for Russia's Sberbank to open a $966.43 million credit line with the China Development Bank.

The deals signed between China and Russia were part of talks between President Vladimir Putin of Russia and President Xi Jinping of China. President Jinping was in Moscow for the 70th anniversary of Nazi Germany's defeat in World War Two, as reported by Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty.

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The occasion between China and Russia featured a military procession through Red Square. However, there were several countries not present in the event, including the leaders of the United States, France, and the United Kingdom. Reports said they have declined to attend in protest of Russia's Ukraine interference.

The closeness between China and Russia was particularly apparent because out of the 30 or so world leaders present in the procession, only President Jinping was able to sit beside Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Xi Jinping's appearance beside Putin at the Victory Parade in Moscow allegedly signified a deepened relationship between China and Russia because of their shared conflict with the United States.

Russia's relationship with its U.S. and European allies is reportedly growing worse, and as a result, its ties to China have never been closer.

The parade last Friday announced China and Russia's 32 separate bilateral agreements, including a non-aggression pledge in cyber warfare. The deals also complemented a $400 billion deal made in May 2014 when Russia agreed shipping to China 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas each year between 2018 and 2048. Next week, Russian and Chinese naval vessels would also conduct live drills in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

Geopolitical analysts said, however, that the ties between China and Russia are unequal, in that Moscow needs Beijing far more than Beijing needs Moscow, as told by The Atlantic. China's close friendship with Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, both rich in energy and were once joined with Russia in the Soviet Union, gives China more leverage in energy negotiations.

Despite Russia's special treatment of China last Friday, the two sides were reportedly not in agreement on a price for a new pipeline linking Western Siberia to China. The disagreement would not cause any rupture in ties though.

"We are strong if united but weak if isolated," Jinping told Xinhua.

Today, China remains Russia's largest trade partner.

The two were still able to agree on a framework to avoid clashing between China's Silk Road investment program and Russia's Eurasian Economic Union. China would be investing billions in a railway system between the cities of Moscow and Kazan. There was also an agreement on a $2 billion agricultural investment fund, as well as a nearly $1 billion line of credit for Russia's Sberbank.

China and Russia had also signed a memorandum for the protection of hacking attacks against each other. The agreement included condemned efforts to destabilize internal politics via the Internet, according to The New York Times.

Meanwhile, information security expert and author of a scheduled book on Russian Internet surveillance Andrei Soldatov said the agreements between China and Russia were directed mainly to "send a signal to the U.S."

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