China to Russia-Be your bestie…

For decades the Amur River has separated modern China and Russia – its waters cutting though more than 1,000 of their roughly 2,500 border miles. But it’s always lacked one thing: a vehicle bridge.

Last Friday, Beijing and Moscow feted the launch of another new link – what state media on both sides have called the first highway bridge over the Amur – with rockets trailing colorful smoke bursting overhead, and local officials applauding from the riverbanks, while their superiors beamed in from Moscow and Beijing on giant television screens specially brought in for the day.
A second crossing, the only railway bridge to connect the countries across the river, is expected to open soon.

“The Blagoveshchensk-Heihe bridge has special symbolic significance in today’s disunited world. It will become yet another thread of friendship linking the people of Russia and China,” said Yury Trutnev, the Kremlin’s envoy to the Russian Far East.

The timing of the bridge’s launch underlines Beijing’s interests in that partnership. It comes even as China continues with an unrelenting “zero-Covid” regime, which has seen the country repeatedly tightening land border controls – erecting fences facing Myanmar, backlogging border crossings with stringent checks and even urging its citizens on the North Korean border to shut their windows lest virus blow over.



They could have at least tried to name it something better. A few names come to mind:



Russia will be a vassal state for China. Look at all the land and resources China can play with in a few years. And China will also take back all the Siberian territory that Russia grabbed in the past. Since ancient times, Siberia has always been closer relationship to China than Russia.

The Siberia Factor

The key geopolitical factor in Sino-Russian relations above all is Siberia. The attitudes of China towards Siberia have long been the subject of discussion. Siberia, a vast, sparsely populated region rich in natural resources right next to China, and its gargantuan, resource-hungry economy obviously demands attention. Safe access to its natural resources would mean a most favorable guarantee for the security of China’s economy, while Siberia under hostile rule would be strangling for it. Thus declared or not, achieving safe access to Siberia’s natural resources is a de facto core geopolitical interest for China.

Theoretically speaking, China can achieve this in two ways. One way, the nice and clean one, is via some kind of alliance with Russia. The other one, the ugly way, is to grab Siberia or parts of it by force. In the case of an alliance with Russia, the weaker Russia is the better for China, as a strong, independent-minded Russia may use China’s reliance on Siberian resources against it, while a weak Russia is less likely to dare to do so. Regarding the ugly option, Siberia is strategically vulnerable to China to a great degree in many ways. East Siberia, east of the river Yenisei with its enormous area of more than 10 million square kilometers, covers about 60% of Russia’s territory, but at the same time, only about 10% of Russia’s population, 14 million people actually live there, while Manchuria and Inner-Mongolia, China’s neighboring northern regions have a combined population of no less than 123 million people.

In fact, East Siberia’s population of 14 million people is less than the urban area of each of the top three cities of China – Beijing, Shanghai, or Chongqing – and roughly equal to the population of Guangzhou or Tianjin, and it is also less than the population of Taiwan. Moreover, vast regions of East Siberia are autonomous federal subjects of indigenous Asian ethnic groups of Russia, where Russian rule has met some resistance every once in a while over the past centuries. On the other hand, however, as Russia is a nuclear power, such an attempt could likely mean nuclear war, which China would surely not dare to risk.…