At a regular press conference on 29 June, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Wu Qian confirmed that Chang Wanquan had signed the roadmap on 7 June during the meeting with Shoigu. He briefly presented the roadmap and plan for the next step: in addition to the economic benefits and similarities of the political regime, Moscow is using military cooperation with China to respond to the development and use by the United States of missile defense systems near Russia. In addition, Moscow is concerned about the fate of the new START treaty between the United States and Russia. After Washington withdrew from the FN contract in 2019, there is growing suspicion that New START could not be renewed or replaced after it expires in 2021. To prepare for such a scenario, Moscow seeks to develop its military cooperation with China, with the aim of sharing the costs of a possible future arms race.31 For a long time, perhaps since 1945, international policy has not seen alliances composed of the same great powers. We have become accustomed to the idea of an alliance composed of the power in place and its dependent junior partners. This is another reason why it is difficult for many experts and policy makers to imagine a Russian-Russian alliance. However, the return of the high-power policy, which many now admit, could revive the “old-fashioned” high-power alliances between equals, with Russia and China leading the way. As long as the factors mentioned above – the common perception of the United States as the greatest external threat, the solidarity of illiberal autocratic regimes and the personal affinity of the leaders – continue to operate between Russia and China, we can expect the Moscow-Beijing axis to continue to exist, and perhaps even stronger. We can expect, with some degree of confidence, that these conditions will continue for the foreseeable future, at least in the years to come. But what will happen in the long term of relations between Russia and China if the forces that unite them today were to weaken or disappear completely? Several ideal scenarios can be developed to imagine the future of strategic relations between Russia and China over a period of seven to ten years. But the reality is less flattering for Russia. Russia exported a wider range of products to China in the 1990s, while China was still developing.
8 As in other higher quality sectors, China is increasingly competitive in global arms sales and has overtaken Russia to become the world`s second largest arms producer.9 Russian companies have accused China of illegally copying Russian military equipment.10 They should be cautious. Chinese companies are likely to throw overboard their Russian partners, as they have done with other foreign companies, after sourcing to make more sophisticated equipment.