Global Affairs: What to make of the 'dragon-bear' alliance

While military strategists should not neglect the implications of closer China-Russian ties, questions remain over political efforts to keep the two apart

Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. PHOTOS: REUTERS, AFP
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Over 10,000 Russian and Chinese troops are currently poised to launch a big joint exercise in the vast and largely arid plains of China's Ningxia region, adjacent to the Yellow River.

The move comes as both countries face a deteriorating relationship with the United States, a fact which both sides appear eager to underline: As Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Wu Qian put it last week, the military manoeuvres aim "to consolidate and develop a comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation between China and Russia".

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