In the postwar world, Stalin and the Soviet Union wielded greater power over Mao Zedong’s new communist China. Today, following China’s rise as an economic superpower and Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, it is Beijing that has the upper hand – and on whom Russia’s future depends. When Xi Jinping arrived in Moscow for a three-day visit in March 2023, he was greeted with elaborate ceremony and deference. With Russia cut off from the West, China now supplies 40 per cent of its imports, a proportion that will only grow. The leaders are united, too, in their fight against the US for global dominance – but there are tensions and limits within that alliance.
In this magazine cover story, the New Statesman’s global affairs editor Katie Stallard looks at the parallels with the Sino-Soviet alliance of the 1950s, and the two countries’ shared and sometimes violent history, from the first official Russian expedition to Beijing in 1618 to today’s alignment. She hears from others on why their explicitly anti-US world-view has an appeal in the Global South, particularly in Africa. Will the relationship survive China’s growing economic and diplomatic supremacy? And how dangerous is it for the rest of the world?
Written and read by Katie Stallard.
This article was originally published on newstatesman.com on 19 April 2023. You can read the text version here.
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