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Russian PM and Chinese premier to hold annual meeting


Russian PM and Chinese premier to hold annual meeting

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons/ Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and Chinese Premier Liu Keqiang will conduct the annual Russian-Chinese heads of government meeting today.

Topics to be discussed include future epidemic prevention and post-pandemic economic cooperation, according to a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson. Bilateral trade will likely also feature in the meeting—China accounts for over 15% of Russia’s total trade. In 2019, bilateral trade reached $110 billion dollars, prompting President Xi Jinping and President Vladimir Putin to set a goal of reaching $200 billion by 2024. While growing year-on-year, the nature of this trade relationship is far from balanced: Russia accounts for less than 1% of Chinese trade, giving Moscow limited trade leverage over Beijing.

In the short-term, the two countries continue to see cooperation as a net benefit, particularly in Central Asia where infrastructure projects are being pursued to streamline trade and strengthen regional influence. However, this close cooperation is unlikely to last in the long-term as China’s domestic manufacturing capabilities become more sophisticated, reducing its reliance on high-tech imports from Russia and further exacerbating the economic imbalance between the two. With fewer economic links to fall back on, expect Russia to start to view China more as a regional competitor than an ally.

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