Russia's pivot to China goes astray: The impact on the Asia-Pacific security architecture

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Baev, Pavel K. (2016) Russia's pivot to China goes astray: The impact on the Asia-Pacific security architecture, Contemporary Security Policy 37(1): 89–110.

​Not quite a meeting of revisionist political minds

High-level declarations in Moscow and Beijing on the steady progress in upgrading their strategic partnership depart increasingly far from the reality of shrinking economic ties and diverging political perspectives. In late 2014, the dynamic development of this partnership appeared to have the potential of becoming a major shift in the fluid security balance in the Asia-Pacific region; in late 2015, however, the concerned neighbours have more reasons to worry about the deformations in the development of Russia–China relations. President Vladimir Putin and President Xi Jinping are eager to demonstrate perfect personal rapport but their mutual trust is open to doubt and their views on priorities of domestic and international order are in fact strikingly dissimilar. The deep contraction of trade and the lack of interest from Chinese investors propels the Russian leadership towards increasing the emphasis on the security dimension of the partnership, and this makes Russia one of the key sources of instability in the Asia-Pacific region and a challenge to the East Asian peace. It is also entirely possible that the Russian challenge to the stability of the world system would result in strengthening of the key institutions of its governance, thus leaving the revisionist Russia in isolation.

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