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The flags of the United States, China and Russia are narsovany on a piece of ice in the form of an Arctic iceberg against a blue sky. Conflict of interests in the Arctic, Cold War, Arctic shelf

A symptom of fragile anti-US alliances: Russia accuses China of technology theft

Chinese Russian military and geopolitical cooperation is flourishing

If, however, the weapons industry is anything to go by, a fraying at the edges of close ties between the two Asian powers may be on the horizon. To be sure, Russia remains by far China’s foremost arms supplier even if China has no scruples about stealing Russian military technology, much like it allegedly does in the West. So far, Russia, with a weak economy desperately in need of the revenues of weapons sales that undergird Moscow’s geopolitical heft, has been willing to look the other way. The question is for how long. By the same token, it’s a question that also applies to various other opportunistic alliances such as relationships between Russia, Turkey and Iran that are driven by short-term interests, first and foremost a desire to institutionalize a multi-polar world in which US power would be counterbalanced by others. These alliances, adopting pragmatic approaches, have so far worked by focussing on immediate interests while carefully managing significant differences. Those differences, nonetheless, surface regularly. Recently, alleged Chinese intellectual property theft as well as diametrically opposed Turkish, Russian and Iranian policies towards conflicts in Syria and/or Libya that have figured prominently in media reports. Russian state defense conglomerate Rostec this month, in a rare public display of friction that echoed long-standing US allegations of Chinese technology theft, accused China of illegally copying Russian military hardware and weapons. “Unauthorized copying of our equipment abroad is a huge problem. There have been 500 such cases over the past 17 years. China alone has copied aircraft engines, Sukhoi planes, deck jets, air defense systems, portable air defense missiles, and analogues of the Pantsir medium-range surface-to-air systems,” said Yevgeny Livadny, Rostec’s chief of intellectual property projects.

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