In the last two decades, China-Russia relations have turned from “friendly” and “constructive,” to “strategic partnership” and reached an unprecedented peak. Indeed, the nature of the China-Russia strategic partnership is based on the consensus of power distribution in East Asia, while facing threats from the United States hegemony and bilateral economic interdependence. The diplomatic strategy of the United States not only affects the development and bilateral interaction of China-Russia relations, but also influences the balance of power among great powers of East Asia. The bilateral consensus to counterbalance U.S. hegemony and tension in pursuing state interests have deepened the China-Russia strategic partnership. With the wavering U.S. unipolar system and the rise of China as a world power, the relationship between China and Russia has gradually deviated from the traditional “balance of power” to “institutional balancing.” This paper analyzes the development of China-Russia relations in the past twenty years from an integrated model of “analytical eclecticism” and “institutional balancing” in terms of power, interest, and identity. Utilizing the perspectives of the three schools: neorealism, neo-liberal institutionalism, and social constructivism, the purpose is to understand the motives, trends and future developments of the China-Russia strategic partnership.
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