Chinese-Russian Convergence and Central Asia

Published: 15 Nov 2011

Since the mid-1990s, China’s and Russia’s strategic outlook has gradually been converging. The two great powers have incrementally shed their mutual apprehensions and started a comprehensive multifaceted cooperation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). Simultaneously, as the rift between US and Russia has opened up and the differences in their views on regional security in Eurasia have become even more evident, China’s and Russia’s quest for new models for regional security in Central Asia has gained ground. Enveloping the Central Asian states on issues of collective and energy security, both states are sternly against US dominance in international affairs in their initiation of a new geopolitical script around Central Asia. As their mutual interests hold sway over US influence regionally, questions remain on whether specific interests are compatible, or harbour new rivalries. Chinese–Russian interaction in Central Asia reveals that there might be limits to the future expansion of their partnership.