China Cozies Up to Russia
Two of the world’s largest nations are seeking improved relations. Last December, Russia’s Vladimir Putin was the first foreign leader to meet with Hu Jintao after Hu officially became president of China. Then, on May 31, Hu made Russia the first stop on his first official trip abroad, where he and Putin discussed arms trade and energy pacts, as well as post-Iraq issues and the need for a multipolar world.
Sino-Russian relations have always vacillated between friendship and apprehension. When Russia sided with the U.S. after the 9/11 attacks and facilitated the entrance of American forces into the former Soviet satellites that border China, Beijing felt slighted and undermined. But with U.S.-Russian relations suffering from the Iraq campaign, Beijing knew that now was the ideal time to renew relations with its northern neighbor.
Fact is, both countries need each other. First of all, “Moscow has been forced to come to terms with Beijing’s rapidly growing economic might” (Asia Times, May 28). Dmitri Trenin of Moscow’s Carnegie Institute said that Russia—once a superpower that matched the U.S. during the Cold War and that looked upon China as a backward country—has now been surpassed by China in gross domestic product, to where China’s gdp is five times larger than Russia’s.
Moscow will take advantage of the Chinese market in two major ways: sales of arms and oil.
Moscow doesn’t view China as a military threat and is therefore happy to make money off China’s desire to modernize its armed forces. China has become Russia’s top arms customer.
Secondly, during Hu’s May visit to Russia, major headway was made toward the construction of a 1,500-mile pipeline that would pump 700 million tons of oil from Siberia into China over 25 years, linking the two countries as never before. Both would benefit from this, as Russia is trying to find ways to exploit its massive oil reserves in the Far East, while China is trying to reduce its dependence on the volatile Persian Gulf region for its oil.
Watch the continual warming of Sino-Russian relations. Despite their fickle history, the Bible shows that the descendants of China and Russia will be the major components of a massive Eurasian alliance. (See our booklet Russia and China in Prophecy to learn more about this.) The recent diplomatic kinship between the two is the latest indication that things are accelerating toward this prophesied outcome.