In recent years China and Russia have presented a solid façade of “strategic partnership,” with leaders emphasizing complementarity of national interests and common approaches to many international problems as reasons they work hand-in-hand. Beijing and Moscow have dismissed suggestions that their relationship is, in fact, plagued by hidden tensions as Western fabrications. Yet, there must be a middle road somewhere between naïve assertions that the relationship is made in heaven and unrealistic claims that this clay colossus is about to come undone. This article looks at policies towards their common neighbor Mongolia in an effort to locate this middle ground. Once a part of the Chinese Empire, later a de facto Soviet satellite, Mongolia has not been shy about asserting its distance from both China and Russia in pursuit of what it calls the “third neighbor” policy. This policy entails active engagement with Mongolia’s virtual “third neighbor”—a collective entity that includes the United States, the European Union, countries of the Asia-Pacific rim, India, Turkey, and various international organizations. The “third neighbor” policy adds a layer of complexity to Mongolia’s relations with China and Russia.