Publié le 08/12/2022
Le président chinois Xi Jinping et le président russe Vladimir Poutine au sommet du G20, Hangzhou, Chine

Marc JULIENNE

China-Russia cooperation in space has been increasing for the past two decades. This cooperation accelerated after the Crimea crisis in 2014 and culminated with the announcement in 2021 of the joint construction of the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS).

Yet, behind the hype around the countries’ “rock-solid friendship,” the reality of this bilateral cooperation is more complex. Space cooperation is very strong when it comes to diplomacy, but it has proven to be limited in technical terms. Overall, the ambitious space partnership touted by China and Russia may well be exaggerated, considering three factors: Russian space budgets have been declining for years; the war in Ukraine will most likely undermine Russia’s budget and technical means for space even further; and China and Russia have persisting mistrust that tends to slow down any real, integrated technical cooperation.

Mainly based on Chinese sources, this paper intends to assess the bilateral partnership in space from a Chinese perspective, going through the historical background, the current cooperation programs, and the two countries’ common front in space diplomacy.

 

>> Dowload the report on the CSIS website [1].