Russia and China launched their first joint naval exercises in the Yellow Sea on Monday. In an email interview, Simon Saradzhyan, a research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center, discussed military cooperation between Russia and China.
WPR: How has Russia-China military and defense cooperation evolved over the past 10 years?
Simon Saradzhyan: Bilateral military cooperation has developed steadily thanks to a general rapprochement between China and postcommunist Russia. On top of strong economic ties, the growth is based on the convergence of the two countries' interests in opposing U.S. global dominance, the development of U.S. missile defenses, the expansion of NATO and regime changes in third countries.
The military-to-military aspect of bilateral cooperation has been particularly robust, with the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (AFRF) and the People's Liberation Army (PLA) holding multiple exercises over the past decade, both in a bilateral format and in the format of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).