According to one political observer, China is in the “dominant position” in its relations with Russia, and President Xi Jinping is no longer willing to let Moscow to “act as it pleases.”

Matthew Sussex, an associate professor at Griffith University in Australia, described the relationship as “an uneven collaboration” where China holds the dominating position. He explained it by saying that China needs Russia more than Russia needs China.

The leader of China made the remarks a day after his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Uzbekistan, which took place in conjunction with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Samarkand. The two leaders had not spoken in person before Russia’s provocative invasion of neighbouring Ukraine in February.

According to Chinese state-backed media outlet Xinhua, Xi stated that Beijing was “willing to work with Russia” during the meeting so that they could support each other’s “key interests,” which it listed as trade, agriculture, and connectivity.

But Sussex emphasised that a collaboration between China and Russia could not always be on an equal basis.

While acquiring cheap energy from Russia, China has consistently denied supplying Moscow with any weapons.

According to Sussex, this could be a sign that Beijing is “some serious concerns, and real displeasure” with Russia about how the crisis is being handled.

According to a New York Times report from August, the war has so far claimed roughly 34,000 lives, with Russia losing an estimated 25,000 soldiers on the battlefield while Ukraine lost 9,000 men. The attack on Ukraine has been referred to by Moscow as a “special operation” on numerous occasions.

Nevertheless, the strategic alliance between China and Russia will endure, according to Xiaoyu Pu, an associate professor at the University of Nevada.

He claimed that because of the alliance, both nations can fight against “Western hegemony,” which refers to the West’s control in the political, social, and economic spheres of the world.

In order to retain a semblance of a regular economic connection, he added, “China needs Russia’s strategic sort of collaboration to counteract against… Western hegemony.

Support in symbolism

In the Sea of Japan last month, Russia, China, and other forces from Mongolia, Laos, and India participated in a week-long joint military drill. Joint exercises between the two nations have recently taken place, especially in the Far East of Russia.

Pu emphasised, however, that “the relationship has limitations.”

He added, “I suppose China has its own worries about Russia’s war, as China will not offer any military assistance to Russia. This China-Russia collaboration is not a military alliance in any sense. It serves more as a symbolic support.

Xi and Putin forged a “no limits” alliance during their most recent face-to-face encounter in February. They promised to support one another politically and diplomatically and to refrain from cooperating in any “forbidden” areas.

Sussex also emphasised Beijing’s potential inhibitions, which are seen in China’s reluctance to arm Russia.

According to its president, Ukraine has taken back more than 6,000 square kilometres of land from Russian rule since the beginning of September, including the second-largest city Kharkiv.

According to Sussex, “Xi will probably remain on the sidelines for the foreseeable future.” “And yet, this is seriously hurting Russian efforts to continue the conflict,”

The ‘no limits’ cooperation does have boundaries, and Beijing is increasingly establishing those boundaries rather than Moscow, according to Sussex. “China is not willing to allow Russia to operate as it pleases any longer.”