(Matt Schiavenza – The Atlantic)
On Saturday, Russia staged a grand celebration in Moscow to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the country’s defeat Nazi Germany in World War Two. The occasion—which featured a military procession through Red Square—did not include the leaders of the United States, France, and the United Kingdom, who declined to attend out of protest of Russia’s interference in Ukraine. But of the 30 or so world leaders who did arrive, only one had the privilege of sitting beside Russian leader Vladimir Putin: Chinese president Xi Jinping.
As Russia’s relationship with the United States and its European allies grows worse, its ties to China have never been closer. On the eve of the parade last Friday, the two countries announced 32 separate bilateral agreements, including a non-aggression pledge in cyber warfare. The deals complement a $400 billion deal made last May, when Russia agreed to ship 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas each year between 2018 and 2048 to China. And next week, Russian and Chinese naval vessels will conduct live drills in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. [...]
Despite many differences and possible points of contention, China and Russia are united by a major strategic interest: disrupting the United States. Beijing and Moscow have found common cause on the United Nations Security Council, where they have repeatedly blocked U.S.-led foreign policy initiatives. And when Washington and its European allies slapped sanctions on Russia’s economy after Moscow’s forcible annexation of Crimea, Beijing remained neutral—despite non-interference being the bedrock principle of Chinese foreign policy. Click here to read more.
Related: Xi and Putin – A Camaraderie of Convenience (Wall Street Journal)