Russian History



In 1995 and 1996, Russia and China moved closer on economic and military issues, after many years of insecurity along the two countries' long common frontier. On the Russian side, the move was prompted by a new general emphasis on relations with Asia that also includes the Korean Peninsula and Southeast Asia; on the Chinese side, there was concern about the stability of the Central Asian republics and the possible spread of separatist sentiments together with politicized Islam, especially in the predominantly Muslim Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, which borders Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Kazakstan. With Russia sharing those concerns, in April 1996 Beijing and Moscow announced a "strategic partnership" that was hailed as a watershed agreement and was accompanied by combined blasts at Western attempts to dominate lesser countries. China voiced support for Russia's Chechnya operation, and Russia backed China's claims of hegemony in Taiwan and Tibet.

New military agreements provide for long-term military and technical cooperation, including Russian aid to Chinese arms industries, modernization of weapons already sold to China, and the sale of new weapons to China at advantageous prices. Among the reported terms of the April 1996 agreement is the sharing of space technology by Russia's State Space Agency, the sale of diesel submarines and S-300 air defense missile complexes, and production in China of Su-27 jet fighters.

In the April 1996 talks, the two sides pledged to observe earlier border demarcation agreements, and Russia ceded some disputed pieces of land. The issue of reducing military forces and defining the border was the subject of ongoing talks in 1996.