August 12, 2020

The Resilience of Sino-Russian High-Tech Cooperation

By Samuel Bendett and Elsa B. Kania

This month, Russian security services announced the arrest of the president of the St. Petersburg Arctic Social Sciences Academy, who was accused of passing classified submarine detection information to Chinese intelligence. While Russia and China are signing joint agreements to develop high-tech research centers and initiatives, the outlook is more complex beneath the surface. As Washington reorients its strategy and posture for great-power competition, the high-tech partnership between Moscow and Beijing could be a force multiplier for both countries, if these efforts deliver on their promises.

While Russia and China are signing joint agreements to develop high-tech research centers and initiatives, the outlook is more complex beneath the surface.

These trends reflect the result of mutual interests and alignment of technological imperatives, which have contributed to the expansion of high-tech efforts between the two countries. There continue to be reasons for skepticism about the actual results and long-term trajectory of this evolving partnership, just as there are reasons for concern that elements of this effort may succeed. The current changes in the global innovation landscape and geopolitical environment have created an important strategic opportunity for China and Russia to counter and undercut American hegemony, including in the realm on issues of norms and global governance. As China and Russia continue to pursue such research collaborations, the United States should continue to evaluate the prospects and potential implications.

Read the full article in War on the Rocks.

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