On the face of it, Moscow and Beijing have moved closer in recent years. Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin have met numerous times and exchanged warm words in the little over a year since the former became President of China, with Xi’sfirst foreign trip taking him to Russia over anywhere else. Mr Xi also turned up in Sochi with a smile when the Winter Olympics was widely diplomatically shunned.
In recent years Moscow and Beijing have aligned somewhat in the UN Security Council over issues such as Iran, Libya andSyria. Some see them as a pairing of revisionist powers, looking to change the international order as members of the BRICS constellation and more directly and forcefully.
But despite this apparent coziness, Russia and China aren’t all that close – and never have been. Despite being the two big powers in the Communist bloc during the Cold War, the People’s Republic and the USSR rarely saw eye-to-eye.
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