When Chinese President Xi Jinping went to Moscow in his first overseas visit after being elected China's president, it became quite clear that China-Russian relations are in high gear. The Chinese President is going to Russia again this week, attending the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg and meet with Russian President Putin on the sideline of the global event.

Dmitri Trenin
Trenin was director of the Carnegie Moscow Center from 2008 to early 2022.

On the China Radio International, Carnegie Moscow Center’s Dmitri Trenin discussed Russia-China relations with Zheng Chenguang. He was joined by Joseph Cheng, chair professor of the department of political science at the City University of Hong Kong.

Trenin said he is optimistic about the current state of the affairs between the two powers, which were described as most positive they've shared in their histories. According to Trenin, a relationship built primarily on an economic pragmatism has seen trade rise dramatically to $80 billion per year, and despite some uncertainties the two countries are expected to sign a major gas agreement improving Russia's access to Chinese markets and China's to Russian energy.

Trenin also discussed the extension of Sino-Russian cooperation into the military sphere. Joint exercises, such as the largest joint-naval event staged in the Sea of Japan this July, go a long way toward boosting confidence and trust between the two countries and their militaries. A military alliance, however, remains both unrealistic and unnecessary for both powers, Trenin said.

Despite the partnership-like relationship between Russia and China, Trenin stressed the continuing importance of Russia's investment in its own economic development and modernization given China's larger, growing, and more globally integrated economy. This reality will continue to contextual Russia-China relations and indeed developments in organizations such as the G20 or BRICS.

This interview was originally broadcast on China Radio International.