The Washington PostThe Washington Post

Why does everyone assume that Russia and China are friends?

By Isaac Stone Fish

26 May 2021 · 3 min read

On Monday, China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, arrived in Moscow, aiming to enhance a relationship that the Chinese Foreign Ministry this week said “has grown as solid as a rock through thick and thin.” This month, Russian President Vladimir Putin described ties between the two countries as being at the “best level in history.” He may have been reflecting on that moment in June 2019 when Chinese President Xi Jinping referred to him as “my best friend.”

As tensions rise between China and the United States, many commentators are taking this rhetoric at face value and warning about a growing kinship between the United States’ top two rivals. But it’s not so simple.

Sign in to informed

  • Curated articles from premium publishers, ad-free
  • Concise Daily Briefs with quick-read summaries
  • Read, listen, save for later, or enjoy offline
  • Enjoy personalized content