Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
China Initiative

Alexander Korolev — China-Russia Strategic Alignment in International Politics

Monday, November 21, 2022

10:00am – 11:00am

Register here to attend the webinar.

How closely aligned are China and Russia? Why won’t China condemn Putin’s Ukraine war? How to define and measure strategic alignments between states? This talk, based on the recently published book China-Russia Strategic Alignment in International Politics (Amsterdam University Press, 2022), bridges area studies and International Relations theory to answer these questions. Post-Cold War China-Russia strategic cooperation has developed significantly and become an increasingly important factor in international politics. However, there has been no theory-grounded framework and corresponding measurements that would allow an accurate and systematic assessment of the level of China-Russia alignment and its progress over time. In this address, Dr Alexander Korolev will discuss a set of objective criteria to measure and explain the development of strategic alignment in post-Cold War China-Russia relations. His research establishes that on a range of criteria, China-Russia alignment has been moving towards a full-fledged alliance, showing a consistent incremental upward trend. There are strong structural incentives for furthering the China-Russia alignment and the war in Ukraine is unlikely to change that trend. The alignment framework developed in this research can be applied to other cases of interstate strategic cooperation to facilitate cross-country comparisons.

This talk is part of a series moderated by Visiting Professor of International and Public Affairs Lyle Goldstein, "China-Russia Relations and the Future of World Order."

Alexander Korolev is Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations in the School of Social Sciences at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. Before joining UNSW, Alex was a Research Fellow in the Centre on Asia and Globalisation at the National University Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (2015-2018). He holds an MA in International Relations from Nankai University’s Zhou Enlai School of Government and a PhD in Political Science from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His research interests include international relations theory and comparative politics with special reference to China and Russia, great power politics, and China-Russia-US relations. He is currently working on a research project which explores how small and middle powers can survive and secure their national interests amidst intensifying great power rivalry. His recent articles have appeared in various peer-reviewed journals, including International Relations, Foreign Policy Analysis, International Studies Review, Journal of Strategic Studies, International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, Pacific Affairs, Asian Security, and other journals.