International Army Games expected to highlight Russian-Chinese cooperation

The 2020 International Army Games (IAG) will start today and continue to September 5. The IAG is an annual military

IAG

Photo: Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation

The 2020 International Army Games (IAG) will start today and continue to September 5.

The IAG is an annual military sports event organised by the Russian Ministry of Defence. China is one of 28 countries confirmed to participate in the Games and will also host five of the competitions.

Russia and China established a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2014, largely on the basis of their shared goal to balance against US hegemony, particularly in East and Central Asia. The two countries have deepened cooperation in energy, regional infrastructure development and defence. In September 2019, defence ministers announced a new 2020-2021 defence agreement. Under the plan, the two militaries will participate in the IAG and 30 other sets of military drills to bolster coordination. The plan also expanded military-technology cooperation, with Russia helping China to create a missile attack warning system.

Some analysts believe that the new military cooperation marks an evolution of the Beijing-Moscow relationship from a convenient partnership to a “real alliance.” However, Russia and China’s divergent interests in East and South Asia, specifically surrounding Taiwan, will prevent the two countries from engaging in a formal alliance. China is becoming more proactive regarding cross-Strait reunification, and Russia’s relationship with Taiwan could lead to conflict within the Sino-Russian relationship.

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