There's more to Russia-China relations than meets the eye
by ELENA HOLODNY
There's no question that the Ukraine conflict has led Russia to shift more toward China — but that doesn't mean that everything is smooth sailing for the two countries.
One of the major byproducts of Moscow pulling toward Beijing will be "expanded" cooperation in Central Asia, according to Alexander Gabuev, a senior associate and chair of the Russia in Asia-Pacific Program at Carnegie Moscow Center.
"It is Inner Asia — Afghanistan, Mongolia, and the five post-Soviet states of Central Asia — that is likely to see the most impact from the deepening of Sino-Russia integration," writes Dmitri Trenin, the director of Carnegie Moscow Center, in a paper on the Sino-Russo entente.
"What is likely to emerge is a trade and investment zone covering all of central, northern, and eastern Eurasia. With China as its powerhouse, this area can be called Greater Asia — from Shanghai, its business center, to St. Petersburg, its outpost at Europe's doorstep."
Already we've seen several Beijing-led and Moscow-endorsed notable initiatives such as the Silk Road Economic Belt, the development of the Northern Sea Route, a high-speed rail link that will connect Moscow to Beijing, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
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