The Arms Trade In Russian-Chinese Relations:

How Firm a Foundation?

Presented to the 2001 Hong Kong Convention of International Studies

"Globalization and Its Challenges in the 21st Century"

Hong Kong, PRC, July 26-28, 2001

The Treaty on Good Neighborly Friendship and Cooperation Between the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China, signed in Moscow on July 16, 2001, was not, according to its signatories, a traditional "alliance." China's President Jiang Zemin and Russia's President Vladimir Putin were both at pains to insist that the agreement was not directed against any third country. In their joint statement, they declared that it formalized a new type of relationship, aimed at furthering a "just and rational new international order." Spokesmen for both parties further declared that the treaty was not about military cooperation. The spokesman for the United States Department of State agreed: "It doesn't have mutual defense in it or anything like that." Other U.S. officials were reported to have said that the treaty "falls far short of being an alliance." [1]

Many students of alliance politics, however, would conclude that those concerned "protest too much." In their influential 1973 study of international alliances, Ole Hosti and his colleagues defined an alliance as "a formal agreement between two or more nations to collaborate on national security issues." [2] Stephen Walt's oft-quoted study of 1987 relaxed this definition somewhat, defining alliance as "a formal or informal arrangement for security cooperation between two or more sovereign states." [3] The Russian-Chinese Treaty meets the more stringent test of formality, and several of its provisions (especially Articles VII, VIII, and IX) refer to military cooperation and to cooperative responses to threats to the security or territory of the parties. While it is true that the published treaty does not spell out specific military measures that will be taken, it does require that, in situations endangering peace or where aggression is threatened, "the agreeing sides will immediately make contact with each other and hold consultations in order to eliminate the emerging threat." [4] In their classic study of alliance and war, J. David Singer and Melvin Small classify this type of alliance as an "entente"--as opposed to a defensive alliance or neutrality pact. Other security alliances, such as the 1970 U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, are similar in specifying consultations as the formal requirement following an attack. [5]

The political science literature can also help us place the new Russian-Chinese alliance in comparative perspective by suggesting the range of strategies that the allying states might be pursuing. In his own review of the literature, K.J. Holsti found little doubt about the necessary condition for an alliance:

Common perceptions of threat and widespread attitudes of insecurity

are probably the most frequent sources of alliance strategies. As

Thucydides noted over 2,000 years ago, and as modern experimental

and historical studies have substantiated, mutual fear is the only solid

basis upon which to organize an alliance....we cannot say that this

factor is a sufficient condition....It is probably, however, a necessary

condition...Nor are other factors, such as internal stability in the allies,

ideological affinity, and common economic values, while all significant

in helping alliances cohere, sufficient in themselves to create or

maintain the coalitions. [6]

Michael Don Ward, in his extensive survey of research findings on alliance strategies, reaches a similar conclusion: "For many, alliances are merely formalized international cooperation focusing on national security matters, generally in the form of intended responses to actual or perceived threats." [7]

So central is the concept of perceived threat in Stephen Walt's theory of the origin of alliances that he chooses to replace the time-honored "balance of power theory" with "balance of threat theory." Walt examines the conditions in which a threatened state chooses a balancing strategy (allying with the weaker side against the threatening state) as opposed to a bandwagoning strategy (casting its lot with the more powerful side). He concludes that states most often choose allies in order to balance against the most serious threat. In a useful modification of Walt's theory, Randall L. Schweller argues that bandwagoning most often becomes the preferred option when a state's motivation for profit or gain outweighs its urge to avoid a loss. This behavior is best seen, he argues, as a search for rewards, rather than as a surrender to threats. [8]

If the new alliance between Russia and China fits the typical historical pattern, then it is likely to be a "balancing" activity. Indeed, Walt would argue that it is probably a response not simply to the predominant power of the United States, but to some threat that the two parties perceive from the U.S. Presumably then, the strength and durability of the alliance will depend in large part on the persistence of the perceived threats. Strains in an alliance may also arise if the parties have created it for essentially different purposes or their objectives are incongruent, or if the major social and political values of the allying states are incompatible. [9]

But what about the contrary notion, occasionally voiced by students of Russian-Chinese relations, that the two states' complaints about "hegemony" are mere rhetoric, and that the only identifiable foundation for the current Moscow-Beijing alignment is Russia's willingness to supply China's military with advanced (and relatively low-cost) weaponry? In his own study, focusing on Middle East alliance behaviors during the Cold War, Walt concludes that arms transfers or foreign aid have relatively little impact on states' alliance choices. Unless the recipient is especially weak or vulnerable, he finds, these instruments can make an existing alignment more effective, but are rarely a sufficient basis for the formation of an alliance. [10]

The present study seeks to build on these earlier ones by measuring the new Russian-Chinese alliance against these central propositions derived from historical surveys. After providing a brief history and an overview of their bilateral dealings, it explores the basis for the relationship, examining possible perceptions of threat and alternative strategies that might have been available to the two parties. Next it discusses incompatibilities and incongruities in the relationship that would seem to override commonalities of viewpoints. Finally it considers the military supply dimension of the relationship, asking whether this is ultimately the decisive--if shaky--foundation on which the Russian-Chinese relationship rests. The study concludes by asking how strong and durable the alliance can be in light of this wide divergence of objectives and interests.


When Mikhail Gorbachev assumed leadership of the Soviet Union in 1985, he inherited a quarter-century-long conflict with China that had cost his country an estimated $100 billion in military expenditures, while coming dangerously close to war. [11] In a real sense, the Sino-Soviet conflict played a major role in eroding the economic and ideological foundations of the Soviet Union and in ensuring Moscow's ultimate defeat in the Cold War. Gorbachev took steps in the late 1980s to address the most serious issues in the conflict. He addressed Beijing's three conditions for paving the way for rapprochement: withdrawing Soviet troops from Afghanistan, pressuring Vietnam to withdraw its troops from Cambodia, and announcing a major withdrawal of Soviet forces on the Sino-Soviet border. His May 1989 visit to Beijing symbolized the end of the Cold War between the two communist giants. But the Chinese were severely displeased with the domestic political changes that Gorbachev was overseeing in the USSR, especially as Soviet democratization became a beacon for Chinese students, whose dissent was crushed on Tiananmen Square just days after Gorbachev's departure. And although they had reached an accord with Gorbachev's government in May 1991 on delimiting 98 percent of their border, the Chinese rulers barely disguised their support for the coup that sought to topple the Soviet president in August of that year.

As the USSR was breaking up in December 1991, Russian President Boris Yeltsin sent an emissary to Beijing to reassure China that Russia would abide by the border accords. The following March, Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev was in the Chinese capital for the formal exchange of ratified documents. (However, the validity of the Central Asian sector of the border settlement was now a matter for newly independent Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan to reaffirm, which they did in October 1992.) Also in March, progress was made in the realms of economic and military cooperation; Russia and China signed a new trade agreement, and the chief of staff of the CIS armed forces concluded an agreement to sell twenty-four SU-27 fighter planes to China. On the ideological front, Kozyrev stated Moscow's wish to avoid confrontation, but signs of tension were not absent during his visit; he expressed Russia's concern for China's human rights behavior, and China brought up the matter of Russia's relations with Taiwan. These relations were complicated in 1992 by the conduct of private diplomacy on the part of Yeltsin's long-time associate Oleg Lobov, who chaired the Moscow-Taipei Coordinating Committee. An exasperated foreign ministry obtained a presidential decree in September that addressed China's concerns by stating that Russian relations with Taiwan would be conducted only on an unofficial level and only with the concurrence of the ministry.

In December 1992 Boris Yeltsin made a state visit to Beijing, and the Russian delegation signed over twenty documents, among them a mutual promise not to enter into any military-political alliance directed against the other state. The Chinese characterized the atmosphere of talks during Yeltsin's visit as “friendly, open and constructive... and in a spirit of mutual respect, understanding and trust.” The gradual escalation of such rhetorical descriptions of presidential visits over the next several years serves as a barometer of the changed atmospherics in the Sino-Russian relationship—or, at any rate, of the way in which Moscow and Beijing wanted the world to view it. Thus, Chinese President Jiang Zemin's visit to Moscow in September 1994 was said to signify a “qualitatively new level of relations” of “constructive partnership,” although not an alliance and not aimed against any other country. Yeltsin, during his visit to China in April 1996, described a “partnership directed toward the twenty-first century” between nations of which there was “no other such pair in the world.” And during Jiang's April 1997 visit to Russia, the Russian president reached new rhetorical heights, describing the visit as one of “enormous, and perhaps even historic, significance, inasmuch as we are determining the fate of the twenty-first century.” Of the joint declaration signed by the two presidents, Yeltsin declared, “Never before has Russia signed such a document with any other country.” Guests at the formal luncheon held during Yeltsin's November 1997 visit to Beijing witnessed not only a warm embrace but even singing by the two presidents. Observers could not recall such a cordial atmosphere at prior Sino-Russian summits. [12]

Consistent with the Marxist-Leninist tradition, of which both presidents were well aware, such phrase-mongering is not a casual exercise, but is calibrated to carry a distinct message. In this case, the message was not solely or even primarily to be understood as a description of the actual state of relations between the two states, but rather as an indicator of the extent of their mutual concern over the status and behavior of another—the United States—and of their desire to send a warning to its government. Both sides have been explicit in their opposition to “hegemonism”—the effort to build a unipolar international system. As Yeltsin put it in June 1997, “Someone is always dragging us toward a unipolar world and wanting to dictate unilaterally, but we want multipolarity.” Such statements on the part of Russia first became especially frequent after the United States announced its plans for expansion of NATO. The implied countermeasure—a “pairing” of “great Russia” and “great China,” as Yeltsin termed it in 1996—was intended to persuade NATO not to undertake expansion, or at the very least to place limits on it. Although China also denounces NATO expansion as “a policy of blocs,” Beijing is less directly affected by it, and is more concerned about its differences with the United States on Taiwan, trade, and human rights. Later, both sides harshly condemned as illegitimate the NATO attack on Kosovo, although again the Russians evidently viewed it as more threatening because of the parallel that could be drawn between Serbian repression in Kosovo and their own policies in Chechnia.

Soon thereafter, Moscow and Beijing were focusing on a third manifestation of attempted "hegemonism"--Washington's announcement of its intention to construct a national missile defense. A joint statement issued in July 2000 during President Vladimir Putin's inaugural trip to Beijing expressed "deep worry" over the U.S. plan, which "boils down to striving for unilateral superiority." Strict compliance with the ABM Treaty was declared to be of "vital significance," and its destruction "would trigger off a new stage of the arms race and turn back positive trends in global politics that appeared after the end of the Cold War." Addressing a particular concern of China's, Putin and Jiang voiced a "resolute protest" over any plan to involve Taiwan in any form of the contemplated missile defense system.

During Putin's July 2000 visit, Jiang sought to retain a modicum of balance in Beijing's ties with Washington by stating that Sino-Russian relations were "not an alliance, not confrontational, and not aimed at any third country." Nevertheless, the two sides reportedly agreed during this visit to prepare their new treaty relationship--to be signed during Jiang's trip to Moscow in July. The treaty would call the world's attention to how close the relations between the former adversaries (and former allies) had grown. In the estimate of Lu Nanquan, deputy director of the Russian Studies Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, "now is the best it has ever been...China and Russia have come this far because of the United States." [13]

Bilateral relations between the two neighbors have been normalized on several fronts. Further progress was made in 1994 in demarcating the border, leaving stretches totaling less than ten square miles (two islands near Khabarovsk and another in Chita province) still under dispute. Both presidents confidently predicted during Jiang's June 1997 visit to Moscow that these issues would be resolved in 1997, but Yeltsin faced very strong opposition from local authorities to further concessions. Thus, when it was announced during Yeltsin's November 1997 visit to China—his fifth summit with Jiang Zemin—that the 4,200-kilometer border had been demarcated for the first time in the two nations' histories, the fine print on the agreement revealed continued difficulties. Although Russia and China agreed on joint economic use, the legal status of the islands in the Amur River was still unresolved. Moscow apparently was unwilling to further inflame its already heated relations with regional authorities in Khabarovsk Krai by ceding possession. And the work on demarcating the 55-kilometer “western border” at the junction of Kazakhstan, China, and Russia also had not been formalized, though a joint statement issued during Jiang's November 1998 visit to Moscow indicated that the work on it had been completed. A further announcement during Yeltsin's December 1999 visit to Beijing referred to the signing of protocols resolving disagreements on the eastern sector. Curiously, however, no final treaties on the border demarcation were signed when Putin went to Beijing the following July. Even more surprising was the announcement at the time of the signing of the treaty that the dispute over sections of the border was still unresolved!

Jiang's June 1997 visit to Moscow did provide the occasion for signing a significant agreement with Yeltsin and the presidents of the three Central Asian border states (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan) on reductions in the military presence along the border. This treaty sets maximum limits on numbers of ground troops, tactical aircraft, and air-defense aircraft within a hundred-kilometer-wide zone on either side of the border. In negotiations that had taken place over a five-year period, China had pressed for a 300-kilometer-wide zone, but the extensive Soviet military infrastructure had been built so close to the border that the wider zone would have produced considerable disruption. As the treaty specified, Russia was to reduce the strength of its Transbaikal and Far Eastern border forces over a two-year period by 15 percent—a level reportedly already planned by the general staff as part of overall force reductions. China's forces are deployed further inland, and would not need to be reduced. [14] Subsequent meetings of this group of five countries (who came to be known as the "Shanghai Five") focused on the growing threat of secessionist and Islamic extremist movements in Central Asia, which China feared might spill over into its Xinjiang province.

A Sino-Russian border issue of considerable sensitivity concerns the extensive Chinese immigration—much of it illegal—into Russian territory. The demographic imbalance along the border, with 150 million Chinese crowded into northeast China and only seven million Russians in the vast bordering territories of Siberia and the Far East, has been a source of concern for Soviet and Russian citizens, officials, and journalists for many years. As border tensions eased at the beginning of the 1990s, the scale of illegal immigration increased—rising threefold between 1992 and 1993. This prompted Russia to conclude an agreement with Beijing in 1994 to establish formal border-crossing posts and tighten visa restrictions. The immediate impact was a sharp reduction in Sino-Russian trade, much of which was “shuttled” across the border by Chinese traders. [15]

The Russian press continued to provide sensational accounts of illegal immigration (termed in one account an “invasion of Huns”), prompting an advisor to Yeltsin, Emil Pain, to write an article in the government's newspaper stating that “claims about dangerous levels of Chinese immigration and a related real threat to national sovereignty in the Russian Far East are not supported by the actual facts.” By his calculations, the “Chinese diaspora” in the Russian Far East accounted for less than 3 percent of the region's population—about half as many as resided there after World War II. Pain pointed out that trade with China is a “life preserver” for the Far East, and he blamed local authorities for whipping up anti-Chinese fears. [16] Nevertheless, Putin himself warned an audience in the Russian Far East that unless steps were taken to develop the region, people there within a few decades would be speaking mostly Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. [17]

As noted above, the reduction in shuttle trade caused the level of Sino-Russian trade, which had reached $7.8 billion in 1993 (second only to the level of Russia's trade with Germany), to fall to $5 billion the following year. It recovered somewhat in 1995, reaching $5.5 billion, and rose to $6.8 billion in 1996—with the Russians enjoying a $3 billion trade surplus. Yeltsin and Jiang set a target of $20 billion by 2000, but the announcement was greeted by skepticism that trade could grow so quickly.

As a subsequent section will demonstrate in greater detail, armaments constitute the single most important Russian export, accounting for about $5 billion in the last half of the 1990s, and reportedly comprising at least one-third of the $7 billion in forward-order sales claimed by Russia's arms trading agency at the beginning of 1997. [18] However, several ambitious energy projects have been discussed in recent high-level visits, most notably including a multibillion-dollar gas pipeline from Eastern Siberia to the Yellow Sea, which would eventually supply up to forty billion cubic yards of gas annually, meeting a large part of China's burgeoning energy needs. Additionally, the Russian press has reported agreements for Russian credits to China of $2 billion and $2.5 billion to finance the construction of nuclear power plants in Gansu and Liaoning provinces. While Russia failed to win contracts for engineering work on the huge Three Gorges dam, a $3-billion contract for Russia to develop a nuclear power plant at Lianyungang, left unsigned during Yeltsin's November 1997 visit, was concluded late the following month—and hailed by Russia's atomic energy minister as “the contract of the century.” Still, by the end of Yeltsin's term Sino-Russian trade had stagnated at a level just over $6 billion. China ranked as Russia's sixth-largest trade partner, but Russia was only China's eighth-largest. The overall volume of China's trade with Russia is small indeed compared with its total world trade (in 1998, $140 billion in imports, $183 billion in exports), of which trade with the United States ($120 billion--20 times Russia's) is a major component.


The weight of political science scholarship would appear to argue that the Russian-Chinese treaty constitutes an alliance, and that alliances are typically formed in response to perceived threats. The Russian-Chinese Treaty of July 2001 is clearly not the type of security treaty, commonly found throughout history, that is concluded in anticipation of impending war. Neither Russia nor China perceives a threat of imminent use of force by another state against itself or its vital interests, nor does either plan in the foreseeable future to use force on behalf of its own objectives. But the threats that impel states to seek allies are not limited to imminent crisis or war. Rather, they can take the shape of longer-term unfavorable trends in the distribution of capabilities, or of specific actions on the part of third parties that, if left unbalanced or unchallenged, could provoke an eventual choice between war or the surrender of vital interests. For both Russia and China, this form of threat is most clearly posed by the dominant global power, the United States.

For neither Moscow nor Beijing, however, is it either necessary or prudent to speak or act as though the threat posed by Washington requires a hostile response. As noted, Presidents Putin and Jiang insisted that their treaty is not aimed against any third party. Each of them has every intention of continuing to negotiate with the U.S. to achieve for itself a more favorable security environment and continuing economic cooperation. By a public declaration of their security partnership, therefore, they not only hope to pool their strength to "balance" against the U.S., but also to gain more leverage in their individual bargaining sessions. Each can do so with greater confidence as a result of having "secured its rear" by cementing ties with its giant neighbor and former adversary. Russian political scientist Yuri Tsyganov has written that "Sino-Russian rapprochement is basically a reaction to the changing balance of power in world politics, enabling the two countries to act in parallel rather than as allies....The objectives of joint action by China and Russia are concurrent self-determination, independent influence and separate bargaining positions rather than a close military and political alliance." [19] From this perspective, the partnership is not a reaction to threats but rather a pragmatic response to the international environment, which helps stabilize that environment while producing benefits for both sides. Signing the treaty allowed the parties to solidify the political, economic and security gains they had already achieved. At most--according to this benign interpretation--the treaty might be regarded as a hedge against (and possibly a deterrent to) further adverse actions by the United States.

But there is considerable evidence that the two parties do indeed perceive considerable threat from the United States and elsewhere. As already noted in the previous section, in their joint statements Russia and China have complained with mounting intensity about U.S. "unilateralism," particularly as it has been manifested in Washington's willingness (sometimes alone and sometimes with allies) to employ force against sovereign states without United Nations sanction. Though not imminent, Russia and China are clearly worried about the long-term prospect that such Kosovo-style actions might be taken against their own territorial interests (Chechnia, Taiwan and Tibet come immediately to mind). More imminent, as noted above, is the threat that a U.S. deployment of missile defenses might diminish the potency of their own strategic forces, evoking joint Russian-Chinese statements opposing any modifications of the 1972 ABM Treaty--seen as "a cornerstone of strategic stability."

In the East Asian security environment, the U.S. could threaten Chinese and Russian interests not only through unilateral actions but also by encouraging Japan--the former adversary of all three--to enlarge its offensive military capabilities. Even without U.S. sanction, a resurgent Japan could pose a threat both to the regional balance and to the separate vital interests of China and Russia.

A third source of possible threat, which could trigger the "consultations" required by the new treaty, has already arisen in Central Asia, in the form of externally-supported Islamic extremist and separatist movements. These threaten Russia's Islamic-majority territories as well as China's Xinjiang region; they also endanger the newly independent states of Central Asia, three of which have joined with their larger neighbors as the "Shanghai Five."

Not surprisingly, each state has its own individual security concerns, not necessarily shared by its partner to the same degree. For Russia, further enlargement of NATO threatens to leave it isolated in the European security environment. While China is not as directly concerned with this issue (and might even welcome the continuing Russian-NATO tensions as a hedge against potential Russian "bandwagoning"), both states fear additional out-of-area offensive actions by the U.S.-dominated alliance.

For a significant segment of the foreign policy and security elite in Russia, fear of U.S. domination is mixed with wounded pride and resentment. The ineffectiveness of the Kozyrev-Gaidar "bandwagoning" strategy of 1992-93 deepened this sense of humiliation and betrayal, while demonstrating the theorists' proposition that some states are simply too weak to profit from efforts to bandwagon with stronger ones. As the declining power--and so recently a superpower--Russia now endeavors to demonstrate that it is still a great power whose interests must not be ignored. In East Asia, it seeks to forestall a situation in which it simply becomes irrelevant to the solution of such security issues as the Korean conflict. In its relations with Japan, Russia may hope to leverage its treaty with China to provide Tokyo with additional incentive to compromise on their territorial dispute.

China, as the rising power, is more eager than Russia to see the U.S. presence in Asia diminished. The idea of "bandwagoning" with Washington is simply inconsistent with China's national pride and ambition. The threat from the U.S.--in the form of Washington's defense arrangements with Taiwan--is much closer for Beijing than for Moscow. The military presence of the United States, and the potent weapons it sells to Taiwan, are constant reminders to China of the limits on its option of using force to compel reunification. China's opposition to missile defense is more sweeping than Russia's, since Beijing strongly opposes theater missile defenses of the type that could be used to protect Taiwan. Russia, on the other hand, has proposed TMD as an alternative to the Bush proposal. Although Russia supports China's position on Taiwan--to the point of declaring its opposition to Taiwan independence in the text of the new treaty--Moscow would certainly not welcome hostilities in the Taiwan Straits. With regard to China's territorial disputes in the South China Sea, China undoubtedly feels constrained by the United States-Japan security alliance, whereas Russia has not only declared its lack of concern about this alignment, but would probably be alarmed if the U.S. were to withdraw from the region.

If most of these perceived threats remained unspoken in the announcement by Russia and China of their new partnership, even more hidden from view was another threat that each state undoubtedly perceived--the potential threat posed to it by the other state had the two chosen not to align. Their rapprochement in the late 1980s had enabled the former deadly rivals to demarcate most of their common border--an enormous achievement not only for them but also for regional and even global security. But both recognized that the border conflict could be revived if the overall relationship were to deteriorate. Moreover, each could cause the other enormous misery if it were to encourage or support separatist movements among volatile minority populations. Left unbound, each would be free to enter into coalitions that might threaten the other, such as a Russian alliance with India, a Chinese alliance with Pakistan or Iran, or a combination of either one with the United States. Given their history, their proximity, and the range of potential issues between them, perhaps Russia and China concluded that forming a partnership removed the deadliest possible threat.


If alliances experience strains as a result of the partners' diverging objectives, then the differences in threat perceptions in Moscow and Beijing would seem to presage some measure of difficulty in managing the relationship. But the potential for strain is in fact much larger than the above analysis would suggest. In four major arenas, the incompatibilities and incongruities between Russia and China are great enough to raise serious questions about the solidity of the partnership.

The incompatibility of Russia and China begins at the most basic level, with serious divergence in their strategic visions for the Asia-Pacific region. Russia, having already experienced a serious decline in its economic, political and military strength, is essentially a status quo power in the region, clinging to territories and positions it won during the Tsarist and Soviet periods. Moscow seeks to reduce regional tensions while it concentrates on rebuilding its strength. It seeks to minimize or eliminate threats and maintain dominant influence within its security zone, which encompasses not merely the territory of the Russian Federation, but the entire Commonwealth of Independent States. Both regionally and globally, Russia opposes "hegemonism" and seeks a multipolar balance, with a special role for itself as a great power with a mission to bridge European and Asian civilizations. Although its military strength has declined, Russia seeks to maintain its strategic deterrent and its technological superiority over all other states in Asia. It seeks to integrate its economy with those in the Asia-Pacific region, although its major economic orientation is toward the West.

China, on the other hand, is essentially a revisionist power, seeking to gather the economic and military capabilities to dominate the region and to compete with the United States on the global stage. In order to do so, it needs continued access to energy resources in Russia and Central Asia, as well as to Russia's advanced military technologies. China is determined to gain its territorial objectives in Taiwan and the South China Sea, while retaining its position in Tibet and increasing its influence over Mongolia and the states of Central Asia. It seeks to maintain military superiority over India and Japan, in part through its ties with Pakistan and Korea, and in part through reducing the U.S. presence in the region. It seeks to preserve its advantageous economic relationships with the West without conceding to its demands for altering its internal political and social practices.

In the economic arena, Russia and China have experienced one of the most stunning reversals of economic position in history. Once one of the world's most advanced industrial powers, Russia's economy has declined to almost half its former value, with more than one-third of its people living below the officially-defined subsistence level, and it must now contend with the label, "Upper Volta with rockets." Once one of the world's poorest countries, China's GDP now ranks third in the world, and its rate of growth is the fastest of all major countries. Even with its 1.3 billion population continuing to grow, and Russia's 146 million continuing to decline, China is on course soon to surpass Russia on a GDP per capita basis. Not only are the directions of their economies diverging, but the lack of complementarity has caused their trade to stagnate, as noted above. China seeks to satisfy its demand for advanced industrial equipment not in Russia, but in the West. Apart from energy and arms, the remaining portion is localized in border areas--so-called "shuttle trade"--and involves foodstuffs and cheap consumer goods. The management of Russia-Chinese trade is plagued with contract violations, corruption, disorder, and distrust. [20]

Long-term demographic trends are even bleaker than present realities, especially in Russia's border regions of Siberia and the Far East. Although abundant mineral and energy resources are found in these regions, they are the most economically and politically troubled. Capital investment in this area had fallen by 1995 to 18 percent of 1990 levels. Along with capital, the region's labor resources were also declining; it lost 9 percent of its population in the 1990s, in spite of a large influx of foreign immigrants, both legal (primarily Korean) and illegal (primarily Chinese). As noted above, a policy of open borders was reversed in 1993, when Russia imposed strict visa requirements, thereby shutting down much of the shuttle trade. With population density ten times larger on the Chinese side of the border than on the Russian side, however, it is estimated that there may be 7-10 million Chinese living in Russia by the middle of the century. Strong resistance by the regional political authorities together with acute fears of the "yellow peril" on the part of the Russian population have made it especially difficult for Moscow to implement the immigration and investment programs that will be necessary if this critical region is to be developed to its full potential. The sobering conclusion of Dmitri Trenin, deputy director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, is that "Russians must realize that if they cannot ensure development of the Far East and Siberia, Russia will lose those territories one way or another and somebody else will then develop them." [21]

In the opinion of Trenin and other informed observers, a fourth area of fundamental Russian-Chinese divergence is their mutual distrust and indifference to one another's culture. While the summit meetings of the two leaderships have been marked by ostentatious cordiality, this may well diminish with the coming generational change in China, which will remove the last of the Russian-speaking Soviet-educated elite. Their successors--like the current Russian political elite--came of age politically at a time when the Sino-Soviet conflict was at its height and contact beween the two peoples was at a minimum. At the level of the masses, the residual effects of years of hostile propaganda will be difficult to surmount. Especially in the Far East, high levels of criminal activity and corruption have not contributed to good feelings. As one study concluded, "Levels of trust between Chinese and Russians and between Japanese and Russians hover near the bottom of any scale of measurement." [22] Despite the fact that contacts between the peoples are freer than ever, there is no significant tourism, and cultural ties are artificially channeled through a Soviet-style "friendship society." As Trenin summarizes the situation:

Russians do not show any active interest in China, its language, and

culture, and prefer that the Chinese learn their language. The Russians

do not quite understand the image that the Chinese have of Russia.

Russian imperialism for the Chinese is not a propagandistic cliché but

part of their history. Contacts between officials, be they government or

military, are shallow in nature....Finally, many Russians are terrified at

the prospect of a significant Chinese population appearing in Russia. [23]

Without a doubt, Russia and China have traveled a great distance from the darkest period of the Sino-Soviet conflict. But the legacy of those years, overlaid with the present incongruities in their circumstances and incompatibilities of their viewpoints, makes it difficult indeed for the two states to establish a strong and durable partnership. We turn now to examine whether or not the arms trade can serve as an alternative foundation for the alliance.


Although a treaty of alliance has been signed and evidence of a sense of perceived threat abounds, the degree of incongruity in the Russian-Chinese relationship occasions the search for another explanation for its formation. Yury Tsyganov has suggested that the arms trade is the missing central element: "the emergence of a military and political Sino-Russian alliance seems inconceivable as their geopolitical and strategic national interest do not coincide....At the same time, both countries are ready to develop military-technical cooperation, one of the major driving forces for their current ties." [24] A similar conclusion is reached by the authors of a RAND study of China's "grand strategy." In their opinion, China's "relations with Russia are oriented primarily toward reducing the chances of political and military conflict between the two former antagonists and acquiring critical military technologies that cannot be obtained [elsewhere]....Although this essentially arms procurement relationship has now been baptized as a 'strategic partnership,' it is so only in name." [25]

If we are indeed dealing with an "essentially arms procurement relationship," what are the motives of the participants? States are typically motivated to sell arms to further either domestic or foreign-policy goals, or a mixture of both. The foreign policy objective for peacetime arms sales is straightforward: to support friendly states in expanding their military capabilities, and to acquire influence over them in the process. The domestic goals are twofold: first, to benefit the national economy by acquiring profits--usually in hard currency--and supporting employment; and second, to support and strengthen the state's defense industry and maintain its long-term viability by achieving economies of scale, preserving infrastructure, and recouping research and development costs. States seek to acquire arms from abroad in order to expand their military capabilities beyond what they are able to obtain from local resources. Sometimes this is done primarily for domestic reasons: to secure support of military elites, to build the state's prestige and reputation, to expand the regime's capability for dealing with domestic unrest or rebellion, to acquire critical technologies that allow modernization of domestic arms production. Or the motivation may be primarily external: to acquire deterrent or defense capability against a perceived threat, including specific technologies that are not locally available; to add "muscle" to back up a state's position in negotiations; or to prepare the armed forces for war, sometimes with the objective of acquiring specific territories or resources. A long-term objective might be to develop its own capability to become an arms exporter, using adaptations of technologies acquired from its own arms imports.

The Soviet Union had played the major role in the 1950s in modernizing China's military forces--especially its air force--and building its defense industry, while remaining cautious in holding back its most advanced technologies. During the lengthy conflict with Moscow, China had largely attempted to pursue Mao Zedong's principle of "self-reliance." But in the 1980s, as its rate of economic growth began to rise in the wake of Deng Xiaoping's reforms, China had also ventured out onto the world arms market to purchase weapons from Western countries eager to support China against the Soviet Union. However, the Western response to the Chinese regime's brutal repression of the democracy movement on Tiananmen Square included an embargo (which proved short-lived) on new arms sales to China. Since the reopening of China's political and economic ties with Gorbachev's USSR occurred at this very time, it appeared that if China were to pursue its goal of advancing its military modernization, the USSR again seemed to be the only logical source of supply. As noted by Bates Gill and Taeho Kim:

...within only days of the Tiananmen crackdown, the Chinese leadership made approaches to Moscow for access to technologies and financial support to replace those expected to be lost from the West. The collapse of the Soviet Union also removed the principal strategic motivation behind Western, and especially U.S., transfers of weapons and technologies to China, so that China had to turn elsewhere. [26]

At the very moment that the end of the Cold War brought a dramatic drop in the world demand for arms, China's military was appearing on the market, its pockets fuller than ever before. Indeed, during the dramatic period of economic expansion in China in the1990s, the resources available to the Chinese military have increased by about 75 percent, even though military expenditures as a share of GDP have steadily declined. [27] But China had not altogether jettisoned the "self-reliance" principle, and it was determined not to again become dependent on a foreign supplier for its military strength. Accordingly, what China primarily sought on the market was not "off-the-shelf" weaponry, but access to the technology that would allow Chinese industry to produce modern weapons locally. As General Liu Huaqing, at the time China's most senior active-duty officer, put it in 1993: "When we stress self-reliance, we do not mean that we will close the door to pursue our own construction. What we mean is to actively create conditions to import advanced technology from abroad and borrow every useful mainly rely on our own strength for regeneration, while selectively importing advanced technology..." [28] Thus, even when Western suppliers reopened their doors to Chinese buyers, China continued to make few acquisitions from non-Russian sources (with the exception of Israel), in part because of unhappy memories of the earlier experience with Western suppliers, but largely because of the West's reluctance to sell technology along with arms.

The newly forged rapprochement between Moscow and Beijing coincided not only with China's renewed appetite for foreign arms but also with a serious depression in Moscow's defense industry. The virtual collapse of the Soviet military-industrial complex, which only accelerated after the breakup of the USSR, resulted primarily from the drastic cut in the weapons acquisitions budgets of the Soviet/Russian military--itself a result of Gorbachev's arms control agreements with the U.S. According to Russian government figures, between 1991 and 1995, 2.5 million of 6.1 million employees left the defense sector; in 1996, only 10 percent of the industry's capability was being utilized. A large part of the orders that were placed by the Russian military went unpaid; at the beginning of 1998, the government owed 18.5 trillion rubles to defense enterprises. [29]

Simultaneously, the world market for arms, on which the USSR had been a major player, declined drastically, in part because of the negotiated settlement of a number of regional conflicts in the Third World. By 1991 the market for arms in the developing countries had dropped to $28.6 billion, down sharply from $61 billion in 1988. It continued to decline in the immediate post-Soviet years, reaching $15.4 billion in 1995, before rising again in the second half of the decade, to about $20 billion in 1999. [30]The drop in value of Moscow's arms sales to the Third World was precipitous: from $28.2 billion in 1986 to $5.9 billion in 1991 and $1.3 billion in 1992. [31]

Russian defense industry lobbyists argued that the total collapse of their sector would be disastrous for the country. The impact of the expected loss of jobs would be especially severe in some regions and localities (especially in Siberia and the Far East), where defense enterprises were often the sole industry. Defense ministry officials were alarmed at the prospect that the closing of numerous plants and design bureaus could terminate research and development of new technologies, exacerbating the decline of the Russian military. In the view of some military and industry specialists, this outcome could be averted only by means of a systematic effort to rebuild the volume of Russian arms exports.

Estimates of the revenues that could be produced ran as high as $30 billion. Figures approaching this size were, however, utterly unrealistic. A worldwide cut in defense budgets, combined with a glut of surplus weapons on the market, meant that the competition for orders of new weapons would be extremely stiff. Moreover, not only had the peak Russian sales in the 1980s resulted in part from the Iran-Iraq war, but the reported actual revenues that past sales had produced were highly inflated. An estimated 44 percent of reported sales were thought to be fictitious--a result of inflating prices or financing with "soft" credits. [32] Nevertheless, defense lobbyists apparently succeeded in persuading the "reformers" in Yeltsin's government that valuable funds needed for conversion of the defense industry could be obtained from foreign sales. [33]

As a result of a determined sales effort, Russia reversed the decline--though revenues fell far short of predictions. In 1995 sales totaled 65 percent higher than in the previous year. Although cash receipts in that year were only about $3 billion, Russian sources claimed that this was still twice the amount that actually flowed into state coffers in 1987, when announced sales were almost entirely financed with "soft" credits. As an indicator of the importance of rebounding arms exports to the Russian defense economy, exports were said in 1995 to constitute half of the industry's total revenues. [34] In the closing five years of the 1990s, according to calculations of the respected Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, deliveries of Russian arms amounted to $14.6 billion, compared to $53.4 billion for the United States in the same period. In 1999, Moscow was reported to have delivered $2.8 billion, a six percent share of the global market, placing it fourth behind the United States (with a 49 percent share). [35] Combat aircraft have accounted for two-thirds of Russia's total shares, with air defense systems comprising a large part of the remainder. China and India together have accounted for about 70 percent of recent arms sales from Russia. [36] In spite of the Soviet experience with "soft" credits, however, the Russians have not moved to a strictly "cash and carry" basis for their arms sales. Only about 60 percent of revised 1996 and 1997 revenues were said to have been collected in convertible currencies. [37]

The relatively large amount of revenue brought in to the cash-strapped Russian economy by arms exports has sparked a scramble for control of arms sales. Until the practice was ended in 1997, large banks were able to profit from the use of funds deposited from sales, which sometimes never reached the factories that manufactured the weapons. In August 1997, Yelstin decreed that the chief Russian arms export agency, Rosvooruzhenie, would be put under the supervisory control of a commission chaired by the prime minister. In a new division of labor, Rosvooruzhenie was given responsibility to deal with foreign sales of arms and military equipment, while a new agency (Rossiiskie Tekhnologii, or Russian Technologies) was established to sell licenses, and another (Promeksport, or Industrial Exports) to sell obsolete used arms and spare parts. Defense enterprise representatives complained bitterly about this system. Not only did it prevent all but a few of the firms from negotiating their own contracts, but it also reduced their hard currency earnings by allowing a sizeable commission to be taken by the state agency. [38]

Continued reports of corruption and inefficiency prompted Putin to reconsolidate arms exports agencies in 2000. The new agency, Rosoboronexport, was placed under the direction of Andrei Belianinov, a former KGB official. In the future, the president and not the prime minister was to chair the supervisory commission on "Military Technical Cooperation with Foreign States" (the Russian euphemism for arms sales), although a closer level of scrutiny would be provided by the Ministry of Defense. Putin's decree listed certain types of weaponry approved for export and certain countries eligible to receive them. The Cabinet of Ministers, formerly heavily involved with arms exports, would in the future be consulted only when proposed sales were linked to foreign debts or required government financing.

Most analysts agree that Russia's commercial motivations have dominated in its arms sales relationship with China. The first exchange of military visits in several decades occurred in June 1990, and resumed arms sales were apparently on the agenda. The following May, Moscow agreed to sell 24 SU-27s to China. (The SU-27 "Flanker" air superiority aircraft, comparable to the F-15 in performance, has a long range, advanced avionics, and a wider array of mission capabilities.) Reportedly, only 35 percent of the sales price was to be paid in hard currency. The rest was to be paid as barter, in the form of foodstuffs and consumer goods. Russian defense factories have found themselves needing to dispose of a variety of bartered products in order to realize their profits. Among the most difficult was the case of the Chinese pigs which were traded for an arms shipment and then banned in Russia by the veterinary inspector, who suspected that they might spread hog plague in the country. In another instance, the Chinese bartered 15,000 low-quality radio-cassette players for three Mi-6 helicopters. [39] However, whereas the barter method initially constituted about three-fourths of Chinese payments, China's growing dollar trade surpluses have enabled Russian negotiators to arrange for hard currency payment in recent contracts. [40]

Combat aircraft have continued to be the chief component of Russian deliveries; China has now purchased at least six dozen transcontinental SU-27 fighters, which are capable of making the Beijing-to-Moscow trip in two and one-half hours with one mid-air refueling. In 1999, China concluded an agreement, valued at more than $2 billion, for forty to sixty SU-30s--two-seat multipurpose fighters capable (with certain modifications) of carrying nuclear weapons. Other categories of purchases which have been concluded or which are being discussed include naval vessels (Sovremennyi-class destroyers equipped with supersonic missiles, two Kilo-636 diesel-powered submarines, [41] and less advanced Varsha-vianka submarines), S-300 surface-to-air missile complexes, T-72 tanks, Smerch multiple rocket launchers, and the technology for advanced gas centrifuges used in uranium enrichment and for MIRVed missiles.

From China's standpoint, however, the most significant purchase break-through came as a result of the October 1992 visit of Deputy Defense Minister Andrei Kokoshin, which resulted in an agreement to transfer significant technology and production rights. In 1995 China agreed to pay about $1.4 billion for the technology and licenses to manufacture the SU-27 at a factory in Shenyang province, scheduled to begin production in 1999. The Russian press reported concerns that China would thereby free itself of the need to purchase aircraft from Moscow in the future, and that if China made minor modifications to the plane's design, it might even become a competitor in the export market. (Indeed, by 1999 China had already climbed to fourth place in global arms sales.) Russian officials were quoted as saying that Russia needed the contract to save its defense industry, and that profits from the contract would be plowed back into development of new aircraft technology. But another account claimed that there was no prospect of a new generation of Russian-made planes in the foreseeable future, and that officials were simply trying to cover up a major blunder on the part of Russian negotiators, the circumstances of which were even scheduled to be discussed in a special meeting of the Security Council. [42] Subsequent reports claimed that part of the funds from deals such as this were siphoned off by former Deputy Prime Ministers Oleg Soskovets and Anatolii Chubais, with Yeltsin's approval, into foreign bank accounts, some of which were tapped for the president's 1996 re-election campaign expenses. Such examples of the domination of weapons sales by private and political interests, and the surrounding air of corruption, have led one analyst to describe the result as the "privatization" of Russia's security policy in Asia. [43]

Even though the Russians have withheld some of the most advanced technologies sought by China, there is little doubt that their assistance to the modernization of China's armed forces has been a significant positive contribution to their bilateral relationship. In addition to the SU-27 contract, other forms of technology transfer are taking place. Large numbers of Russian scientists and engineers with long-term contracts are working in Chinese design bureaus and defense plants, Chinese engineers are training at Russian facilities, and more than 100 joint production projects have been launched. And yet these contacts are said to be carried on within strict limits:

...this cooperation should not be overestimated: it is far from being a relationship of real allies in terms of depth and openness. Despite the seriousness of the partners, their motives are pragmatic and sometimes selfish. There is no real cordiality or frankness in their relations. They are cautious and even suspicious of each other's intentions and motives....Russia does not permit the export of its most advanced weapons systems and technologies and is not completely satisfied with the financial conditions of its arms deals with China. China is concerned about the risk of over-dependence on Russian arms supplies...Regardless of their common interests, they will keep some distance between them where military and security matters are concerned. [44]

A far more significant issue is whether Russia is endangering its own long-term security by selling to its giant neighbor its most advanced weapons and the know-how to produce them. Russian military sources have expressed envy that Beijing is receiving more modern equipment than their own units possess. A report in the Russian press in June 2001 said that "many Russian weapons designers and military leaders tell of their concern with our neighbor's growing military might. And yet they add that Russia needs these arms sales more than anyone else...China accounts for about 40 percent of Russia's total arms sales to foreign countries." [45] The concern, however, is that the benefits of this relationship are all too one-sided. China appears to be getting the modernization of its navy and air force, while Russia is getting modest hard currency earnings, at a level far lower than needed to bail out its defense industry, thereby continuing to postpone difficult but necessary adjustments in its economy.

Most Russian analysts appear to believe that China's near-term foreign policy ambitions are directed toward Taiwan and the South China Sea, and that her interests in stability in Central Asia parallel those of Russia. Russian-made equipment may indeed enable Beijing to obtain a regional advantage in force-projection capability in a future Taiwan crisis; the Sovremennyi destroyer's cruise missiles have a combat range of three hundred miles, are reportedly resistant to U.S. air defense systems, and will allow China to test the naval superiority of the United States in the East China Sea. China's growing capability, in support of a doctrine that is oriented toward local and limited wars on or near its borders and that emphasizes mobility, lethality, and preemption, is making other regional powers uneasy, and may stimulate a new arms race in the region. Nevertheless, the Kremlin appears to perceive no danger to Russia in such contingencies.

Expressing this viewpoint, former defense minister Pavel Grachev declared in 1995 that “China poses no threat to Russian security now and will not in the near future,” and he asserted that if Russia did not sell arms to China, some other country would. Eighteen months after Grachev stated that he saw no threat, his successor included China on a list of potential enemies of Russia—and was hastily corrected by the foreign ministry. But General Rodionov seemed to be voicing what many Russians were thinking. This dissenting view, taking note of the demographic imbalance between Russia and China in the Far East, sees a long-range potential for conflict between the two continental powers. From the perspective of these observers, even with respect to the nearer term, by closely associating with China and by selling it arms, Russia risks upsetting the delicate military balance in Asia and even being drawn into China's territorial disputes with Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan, and ultimately the United States.


The conclusions to this study can be briefly drawn. The Treaty on Good Neighborly Friendship and Cooperation between the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China is indeed, in both form and probable intent, an alliance between these two Asian powers. Despite denials, it is based on perceptions of threat from third countries, though these are far from congruent

Criticized by the Russian newspaper Nezavisimaia gazeta for its "hackneyed cliches," the treaty appears to represent a return to pre-Gorbachev "old thinking" in foreign policy. Based on an outdated concentration on geopolitical factors--to the shocking neglect of geoeconomic realities--it fails to recognize that the real threat to security in the East Asia-Pacific region would be the failure of economic reform efforts in either Russia or China. The long-term economic prospects for both Moscow and Beijing are mixed at best. In either country, a troubled economic transition that stimulates assertive nationalism or exacerbates internal instability poses a major threat--and most directly to its large neighbor. But the enormous economic and demographic challenges of the regions on either side of the Russian-Chinese border are simply not addressed in this treaty.

Thus, the Russian-Chinese relationship, though it meets the definitional criteria of an alliance, is an extremely fragile alliance of uncertain durability. The one element that seems to have dominated the thinking of both sides is the sale of advanced weaponry by Russia to China--a one-sided and dangerously short-sighted arrangement that can be enormously destabilizing for the region. But apart from the arms sales dimension--hardly a firm foundation for an alliance--there is little that the two sides have in common that could hold them together in the face of the numerous incompatibilities and incongruities described in this study.

However, there is one external factor that could yet transform a weak alliance into a stronger one. If the United States chooses to turn aside Russia's and China's efforts to negotiate less threatening arrangements for the future of NATO, for missile defense, and for the sale of arms to Taiwan--if it persists in its stated determination to pursue its interests in these areas unilaterally, if need be--then the threat that Russia and China perceive in the posture of the United States can become ominous enough to create strength in an alliance that currently lacks it.


[1] Patrick E. Tyler, "Russia and China Sign 'Friendship' Pact;" Jane Perlez, "White House Unconcerned about China-Russia Accord," New York Times, July 17, 2001, pp. 1, 8.

[2] Ole Holsti, P. Terrence Hopmann, John D. Sullivan, Unity and Disintegration in International Alliances: Comparative Studies, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1973, p. 4.

[3] Stephen M. Walt, The Origins of Alliances, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1987, p. 12.

[4] New York Times, July 17, 2001, p. 8.

[5] K.J. Holsti, International Politics: A Framework for Analysis, 2nd edition, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1972, p.115.

[6] Ibid., pp. 112-13.

[7] Michael Don Ward, Research Gaps in Alliance Dynamics, in Monograph Series in World Affairs, vol. 19, Book I, Denver: Graduate School of International Studies, University of Denver, 1982, p. 5.

[8] Randall L. Schweller, "Bandwagoning for Profit: Bringing the Revisionist State Back In," International Security, vol. 19, no. 1 (Summer 1994), pp. 72-107.

[9] K.J. Holsti, pp. 118-21.

[10] Walt, chapter 7.

[11] The estimate can be found in Yuri V. Tsyganov, "Russia and China: what is in the pipeline?" in Gennady Chufrin, ed., Russia and Asia: The Emerging Security Agenda, published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, New York: Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 304n.

[12] Much of the information in this section is drawn from Robert H. Donaldson and Joseph L. Nogee, The Foreign Policy of Russia: Changing Systems, Enduring Interests, Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1998, chapter 7.Reports of Sino-Russian presidential visits may be found in Vasily Kononenko and Vladimir Skosyrev, “Russian-Chinese Declaration Is Essentially Tantamount to a Nonaggression Pact,” Izvestia, December 21, 1992, in Current Digest of the Post-Soviet Press (CDPSP) 44, no. 51 (1992), pp. 13–14; Aleksandr Chudodeev, “Partners, but not Allies,” Segodnia, September 2, 1994, in CDPSP 46, no. 36 (1994), p. 13; Tatiana Malkina, “Boris Yeltsin Sees No One Who Could Stand Against Such a Pair as `Great Russia' and `Great China',” Segodnia, April 27, 1996, in CDPSP 48, no. 17 (1996), pp. 7–8; “A Breakthrough for Russian Policy on the Asian Front,” Rossiiskie vesti, April 24, 1997, in CDPSP 49, no. 17 (1997), pp. 1–2; Aleksandr Chudodeev, “Boris Yeltsin and Jiang Zemin Find Harmony,” Segodnia, November 12, 1997, in CDPSP 49, no. 45 (1997), p. 6; "Joint Statement of President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation and Chairman Jiang Zemin of the People's Republic of China on ABM," Krasnaia zvezda, July 19, 2000, in CDI Weekly, no. 111 (2000).

[13]John Pomfret, "Beijing and Moscow to Sign Pact," Washington Post, January 13, 2001.

[14]. Ilia Bulavinov, “Russia's Boundless Friendship with China,” Kommersant-Daily, April 25, 1997, in CDPSP 49, no. 17 (1997), p. 5.

[15] See James Clay Moltz, “Regional Tensions in the Russo-Chinese Rapprochement,” Asian Survey 35, no. 6 (June 1995).

[16] Emil Pain, “`Illegals' on the Banks of the Amur,” Rossiiskie vesti, May 6, 1997, in CDPSP 49, no. 19 (1997), pp. 1–3.

[17] Evgenii Berlin, "Russia at Far Eastern Crossroads," Vremia MN, July 25, 2000, in CDPSP 52, no. 30 (2000), pp. 15-16.

[18] “Russia and China: Can a Bear Love a Dragon?” The Economist, April 26, 1997, pp. 19–21.

[19] Tsyganov, p. 306.

[20] See Viktor B. Supian and Mikhail G. Nosov, "Reintegration of an Abandoned Fortress: Economic Security of the Russian Far East," and Tsuneaki Sato, Chun-Sheng Tian, and Il-Dong Koh, "'Homemade Risks': the Economic Securityy of Russia in East Asia," in Gilbert Rozman, Mikhail G. Nosov, and Koji Watanabe, eds., Russia and East Asia: The 21st Century Security Environment, Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1999, pp. 69-125.

[21] Dmitri Trenin, Russia's China Problem, Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1999, p. 36.

[22] Nobuo Miyamoto, Yizhou Wang, and Hun Joo Park, "New Threats: Dangers and Vulnerabilities of Russia's Far East," in Rozman, Nosov, and Watanabe, p. 204.

[23] Trenin, p. 39.

[24] Tsyganov, pp. 307-8.

[25] Michael D. Swaine and Ashley J. Tellis, Interpreting China's Grand Strategy: Past, Present, and Future, Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2000, p. 119.

[26] Bates Gill and Taeho Kim, China's Arms Acquisitions from Abroad: A Quest for 'Superb and Secret Weapons,' SIPRI Research Report No. 11, New York: Oxford University Press, 1995, p. 72.

[27] SIPRI Yearbook 1999: Armaments, Disarmament and International Security, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, New York: Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 349.

[28] Quoted in Gill and Kim, p. 56. See also John Wilson Lewis and Xue Litai, "China's Search for a Modern Air Force," International Security, vol. 24, no. 1 (Summer 1999).

[29] Alexander A. Sergounin and Sergey V. Subbotin, Russian Arms Transfers to East Asia in the 1990s, SIPRI Research Report No. 15, New York: Oxford University Press, 1999, pp. 15-16.

[30] 1991 and 1995 figures from the U.S. Congressional Research Service, cited in Philip Shenon, “Russia Outstrips U.S. in Sales of Arms to Developing Nations,” New York Times, August 20, 1996.

[31] Congressional Research Service, cited in Eric Schmitt, “Arms Sales to the Third World, Especially by Russia, Drop,” New York Times, July 19, 1993.

[32] Clifford G. Gaddy, The Price of the Past: Russia's Struggle with the Legacy of a Militarized Economy, Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 1996, p. 91.

[33] On the domestic political aspect of Russian arms sales see Sergounin and Subbotin, ch. 2.

[34] Iuri Golotiuk, “Russia Is `Aggressively' Entering World Arms Market,” Segodnia, March 29, 1996, in CDPSP 48, no. 13 (1996), p. 22; Pavel Felgengauer, “Arms Trade Is Not as Lucrative for Russia as Russia Claims,” Segodnia, March 10, 1995, in CDPSP 47, no. 10 (1995), pp. 16–17.

[35] Michael R. Gordon, "Russia is Pushing to Increase Share in Weapons Trade," New York Times, July 14, 2000. See also the annual reports from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI Yearbook: Armaments, Disarmament, and International Security.

[36] "Russia's Arms Bazaar," Jane's Intelligence Review, April 2001.

[37] Pavel Felgengauer, “Arms Exports Aren't as Lucrative as They're Said to Be,” Segodnia, December 26, 1997, in CDPSP 49, no. 52 (1997), p. 18; Konstantin Makienko,”There are Fewer Russian Weapons in the World,” Kommersant-Daily, February 13, 1998, in CDPSP 50, no. 8 (1998), pp. 12–13.

[38] Details may be found in Sergounin and Subbotin, ch. 3.

[39] Boris Barakhta, “Is China's Experience Outdated?” Pravda, December 22, 1992, in CDPSP 44, no. 51 (1992), pp. 14–15.

[40] . Pavel Felgengauer, “Russia Too Busy Arming China to Care about Consequences,” St. Petersburg Times, July 14–20, 1997, Johnson's Russia List, July 17, 1997.

[41] "The Kilo Class submarines would be a significant addition to China's aging submarine fleet. [It] is diesel-powered and is designed for both anti-surface and anti-submarine (ASW) roles. With a maximum submerged speed of 17 knots and cruising range of 9500 km, it has an endurance of 45 days under the surface with a crew of 51." Gill and Kim, p. 62.

[42] Andrei Bagrov, “In Every Propeller Breathes a Scandal,” Kommersant-Daily, July 18, 1996, in CDPSP 48, no. 30 (1996), pp. 20–21.

[43] Stephen Blank, "The Dynamics of Russian Weapons Sales to China," Carlisle Barracks, PA: U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, March 1997.

[44] Sergounin and Subbotin, p. 92.

[45] Yekaterina Grigoryeva and Dmitri Safronov, "Wary Friendship: The Thinking Behind Russia's Arms Sales to China," Izvestia, June 15, 2001, in CDPSP 53, no. 23 (2001), p. 8.