Western assessments of the China-Russia relationship generally reach one of two conclusions: hyperventilation about a Beijing-Moscow alliance that aims to upend the existing international order or a blithe dismissal of a temporary meeting of minds and interests. Neither position accurately characterizes the current relationship, which is best understood as a genuine convergence of national interests despite powerful centrifugal forces. In the context of Russia’s strategic quagmire in the aftermath of the Ukraine Crisis and China’s Belt and Road Initiative, this seminar discusses how the two countries are finding a mid-way to align their interests without an alliance.

Yun Sun is a senior associate with the East Asia Program at the Henry L. Stimson Center and a non-resident fellow of the Brookings Institution. Her expertise is in Chinese foreign policy, U.S.-China relations and China’s relations with neighboring countries and authoritarian regimes. From 2011 to early 2014, she was a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution jointly appointed by the Foreign Policy Program and the Global Development Program where she focused on the Chinese national security decision-making processes and China-Africa relations. From 2008 to 2011, Yun was the China Analyst for International Crisis Group based in Beijing, specializing on China's foreign policy towards conflict countries and developing world. Prior to ICG, she worked on U.S.- Asia relations in Washington DC for five years. Yun earned her master’s degree in international policy and practice from George Washington University, an MA in Asia Pacific studies and a BA in international relations from Foreign Affairs College in Beijing.