Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security Resident Fellow Erik Brattberg and SAIS’ Bernardo Peres de Lima detail how the West may exploit the complicated relationship between China and Russia to its benefit in The Diplomat:
Vladimir Putin’s visit to China this week was supposed to reaffirm the budding strategic ties between Moscow and Beijing. And in many ways it did precisely this. After years of complex negotiations, Putin will return home with a massive energy deal between Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corp under his belt. But while the deal to supply China with gas over the next decades is a significant landmark in Sino-Russian relations, it’s still premature to speak of a burgeoning Moscow-Beijing axis vis-à-vis the West.
Although details of the deal are not yet public, it is safe to assume China was able to push Russia to get a very good price. Sensing Russian strategic weakness at the moment, the energy deal underscores China’s growing confidence vis-à-vis Russia – a sentiment that has only been reinforced by recent events in Ukraine. This is bad news for Russia but good news for China – and perhaps also for the West if it can play its cards right.