The History Between China and Russia

Isabella Dionise, Staff Writer

 Over the past month, the war between Russia and Ukraine has been all over the news. Recently, Russia has been trying to strike a deal with China for military aid in this conflict. This has led people to wonder, what is the history behind Russia and China’s relationship? 

  Many people believe that there is a formal alliance, but this is not true. The truth is that Russia and China have a long history of friendship and cooperation.  

  Russian-Chinese relations can be traced all the way back to roughly 1689, when Chinese troops drove Russian settlers off of their land. In the early 1960s, Russia and China were at odds because of the land shared between them. In 1969, there was a brief but significant conflict over the uninhabited shared island in the Ussuri River. This conflict was expected, given the tension between the two countries due to a conflict over who got to control the communist movement.  

  In 1996, the Chinese Premier Li Peng visited Moscow for a conference, the content of the meeting was not open to the public, and the two countries were back on good terms. In 2001, they signed a treaty called the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation. This treaty spelled out an agreement of 20 years of military aid and cooperation.

  The treaty signed by Russia and China expired in 2021, leaving both countries in an interesting position for this recent conflict between Russia and Ukraine. US Intelligence has confirmed negotiations between Russia and China for military aid and support, an allegation that both countries vehemently deny. 

  Experts expect that this puts China in a very difficult position, stuck between two countries that they are on mostly good terms with. 

  China is Russia’s largest supplier of electrical equipment, while Russia is one of China’s biggest suppliers of petroleum and lumber. No matter which choice China makes, they are running the risk of losing their largest buyer, the United States, or their twelfth largest buyer, Russia. 

China is caught in the middle of the conflict. They used to be tied in a treaty with Russia, but that theory expired in 2021.