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Pirchner on Russian-Chinese Relations

January 15, 2009

The Fall 2008 issue of Demokratizatsiya, the scholarly journal of post-Soviet democratization, carried AFPC President Herman Pirchner”s 14 page article, “The Uncertain Future Sino-Russian Relations in the Twenty-First Century”.

The article traces some of the high points in Sino-Russian relations: first, the 1689 Treaty of Nerchinsk that gave the territory of today’s eastern Siberia and the Russia Far East to China. Second, the treaties of 1858 and 1860 legitimizing
Russia’s sovereignty over these same areas. Third, the near 1969 war between the Soviet Union and China; fourth, Russia’s post-Soviet Reproachment with China and their common anti-U.S. front. Finally Pirchner, while acknowledging that the the Russian-Chinese relationship is still strong, posits that, in the long run Russia and China will become rivals
not allies.

How quickly this happens will be decided by 1) Internal political developments in Russia and China; 2) the settlement of the Taiwan question; and, 3) the degree to which the U.S. can solve outstanding problems with both countries. The full article can be accessed on our web page at