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Russia and China: An Historical Perspective on the Prospects for Alliance

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Master's thesis

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This thesis examines prospects for the development of Chinese Russian strategic relations. It addresses an interpretation that is prevalent, if not predominant, in current literature on the relationship that the two countries appear to be moving toward alignment or alliance, and that the evidence for this movement is in the increasing security related cooperation between the two sides since 1990. This paper addresses two questions that are central to this interpretation 1 Is cooperation between the two sides in fact deepening over time and 2 Is this cooperation likely to lead to alignment The issue of whether various forms of cooperation between the two sides are properly seen as elements of a new, closer security relationship are addressed in three case studies, each of which compares an important facet of bilateral cooperation in the 1990s with cooperation in the same field during the 1950s. Cooperation in defense technology, economic affairs, and territorial relations are examined. These studies find that Chinese Russian cooperation is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, but that it has fallen off since the early 1990s and is unlikely to develop beyond current levels in the near term. They find no causal link between cooperative relations and the emergence of alignment or alliance between these states. The limited scope of current bilateral cooperation between these countries, the absence of mutual favored treatment in their cooperative relations, and persistent historical enmities are central to this judgment.

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  • Government and Political Science

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