RUSSIA AND CHINA DRAW CLOSER
Neither groundbreaking nor unexpected, the friendship pact signed by Russia and China on July 16, 2001, was nonetheless far from empty. For one thing, it formalized a relationship that had grown ever warmer since the end of the Cold War.
Though both parties contended that the new pact is not directed at third countries, this is a fig leaf that can be quickly discarded. The naked truth is contained in their hope for a "just and rational order", and in their opposition to numerous U.S. policies.
Both sides also denied that the friendship pact is a military alliance. And yet their relationship is largely a military one. Russia is the second-largest exporter of arms (after the United States), and China is Russia's biggest client. Over the last decade, China has bought from its northern neighbor a full complement of modern armaments, particularly in air and sea power. Also, Russian-Chinese cooperation extends further, to intelligence sharing and the training of Chinese officers in Russian military academies.
The Su-30, for example, is an all-weather, two seat, deep-strike fighter, equipped with a range of precision-guided weapons. Comparable to the U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle, and far better than anything currently serving in the UK's Royal Air Force.
In exchange, Russia receives much needed cash, as well as a willing industrial partner. China's nuclear-powered submarines, for example, are being built with Russian know-how.
Refer to Table below for a summary of Russian arms bought by China since 1990.
RUSSIAN ARMS BOUGHT BY CHINA SINCE 1990
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