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China-Russia Relations and the War in Ukraine, its Settlement and Post-War Order

Panel Discussion
Eder and Radchenko
Monday, November 13, 2023, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

This event is co-hosted by the Department of International Relations and oiip - Österreichisches Institut für Internationale Politik.


Abstract /

China has tried to maintain and gradually expand its close strategic partnership with Russia without crossing the EU’s and Ukraine’s red lines. During the escalated Russia-Ukraine War, China has provided extensive propaganda support to Russia. It has helped Russia avoid diplomatic isolation, and served as its main economic and technological lifeline when Western sanctions hit and Russia’s ties with Europe, the US and East Asian democracies progressively broke down. At the same time, China largely abstained on Russia-related votes at the UN, did not recognize Russia’s attempted annexations, spoke out against the use of nuclear weapons following Russian threats, largely respected Western sanctions, and (as of this writing) refrained from supplying the Russian military with heavy weapons and related ammunition – there has been evidence that Chinese companies have provided dual-use equipment and technology, body armor, small arms, components, and satellite navigation services. Meanwhile, the EU remained China’s leading trade partner, and China was the most important buyer for Ukraine’s exports as long as the Black Sea Grain Deal allowed.

During this panel discussion, the two speakers will address China’s evolving views of and (potential) policy choices during the Russia-Ukraine War, its settlement and post-war security order discussions. They will talk about how the war has impacted China-Russia relations, the competing priorities shaping China’s foreign policy, and what Russia thinks about the new dependence on China. The speakers will draw on the history of China-Russia relations, foreign policy traditions in Beijing and Moscow, official statements, debates among influential foreign policy elites, and current economic data, to tackle these issues and provide a short- to medium-term outlook on likely developments and implications for the EU.


Bios /

Sergey Radchenko is the Wilson E. Schmidt Distinguished Professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He has written extensively on the Cold War, nuclear history, and on Russian and Chinese foreign and security policies. He has served as a Global Fellow and a Public Policy Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Centre and as the Zi Jiang Distinguished Professor at East China Normal University (Shanghai). Professor Radchenko’s books include To Run the World: the Kremlin’s Cold War Bid for Global Power (Cambridge UP, forthcoming in 2024), Two Suns in the Heavens: the Sino-Soviet Struggle for Supremacy (Wilson Center Press & Stanford UP, 2009), and Unwanted Visionaries: the Soviet Failure in Asia (Oxford UP, 2014). Professor Radchenko is a native of Sakhalin Island, Russia, was educated in the US, Hong Kong, and the UK, where he received his PhD in 2005 (LSE). Before he joined SAIS, Professor Radchenko worked and lived in Mongolia, China, and Wales.

Dr. Thomas Eder covers China's foreign and security policy for the Austrian Institute for International Affairs (oiip), with a focus on China-Russia and other major power relations, and China & global governance. Prior to the oiip he was a member of the foreign policy team at the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS) in Berlin. He is the author of "Will China Save Russia's Military in 2023?" (CHOICE), "Moscow's Failed Pivot to China" (Foreign Affairs), and China-Russia Relations in Central Asia (Springer). Dr. Eder was educated in Vienna, Beijing and Hong Kong. He held fellowships and was a guest scholar at NYU, the Academia Sinica in Taipei, and the IWM in Vienna. He looks forward to a roundtable on China-Russia relations at the ISA 2024 in San Francisco, which he co-organized.