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Scholars studying Sino-Russian relations point at the informal division of labour between Russia and China in global governance. Russia remains active in international security governance, whereas China has increased the level of its participation in areas of economic, financial and environmental governance. These differences are ascribed to the different potential of both states as well as their related varied scope of interests in a well-functioning global governance system. However, this division of labour has evolved for the past couple of years. Beijing increased its engagement with international security governance, while Moscow lost some of its (already limited) interest in such areas as environmental or economic governance. This chapter aims at exploring this shift and its implications. Rather than analysing Sino-Russian relations in distinct areas of global governance, it proposes a different approach and identifies three patterns of interactions between the two countries: direct cooperation, parallel activities and contradictory/divergent activities.
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