Country Reports

One message stood apart in Russian coverage of international relations in the Indo-Pacific in the early spring of 2020: what is the impact of the pandemic on China and on Sino-US relations? In the background is the question: what will be the impact on Russian foreign policy? As for China, numerous questions are raised about its xenophobia, speed of recovery, political psychology, and alternative ways to defend its reputation. Yet, more than the impact in China, the impact on Sino-US relations aroused debate. Pessimism prevailed, including much talk of a new cold war, marked now by an intensifying war of narratives. Confrontation over Taiwan was considered more likely. On Sino-Russian relations, they are generally seen as growing closer—for instance, in space, as Sino-US competition there intensifies, and even in energy. Yet a strong warning that relations have peaked and Russia needs to be cautious can also be found.  

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