During Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to China last week, China and Russia signed a huge natural gas deal that is worth about $400 billion. The natural gas deal is a win-win for China and Russia, as China secures a long-term (30 years) provision of natural gas from Russia and Russia can reduce its dependence on the European markets as well as strengthen Russia’s position against Western sanctions. In the meantime, China and Russia conducted a joint naval drill in East China Sea, sending a deterrence message to Japan and the U.S. This also indicates that Russia is now moving closer to China’s side with regard to the territorial disputes between China and Japan. Furthermore, China and Russia last week vetoed a draft UN resolution to send Syria to the International Criminal Court for war crimes. China and Russia had vetoed three previous UNSC resolutions condemning Syria.
In the joint statement issued by China and Russia, the main message is that China-Russia relations have reached a new stage of comprehensive strategic partnership and this will help increase both countries’ international status and influence, thus contributing to a more just international order. Of particular importance is the agreement that China and Russia will deepen cooperation under the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building in Asia (CICA), a new security framework in Asia-Pacific that conveniently excludes the U.S. and Japan.