Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed interest in sharing satellite intelligence and data with China during a meeting with China’s top military officer overseeing the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Moscow. This proposal is significant as both countries perceive a threat from the United States (US) and shows their intention to work together on advanced defense technologies.
However, experts caution against reading too much into Putin’s comments, as they may be exaggerated. They believe that the level of cooperation suggested by Putin is inconsistent with the nature of the strategic-military cooperation between Russia and China over the past decade.
Putin’s statement focused on military-technical cooperation, specifically in high-tech sectors like space and high-orbit assets. This could refer to joint projects such as the planned lunar base and the use of Chinese satellite-based capabilities. Analysts suggest that the ballistic missile detection radar Russia is helping China build could lead to the sharing of satellite data and intelligence.
Russia’s radar capabilities, such as the Voronezh and Podsolnukh systems, can detect intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) and observe ships over the horizon. However, to optimize their function, satellite monitoring is necessary. China has a lead in satellite capabilities, making collaboration with Russia beneficial for both countries.
While there are considerations at the state level that constrain Sino-Russian cooperation, China is balancing its relationships between the West and Russia. This is evident in how some US allies in Europe and Asia are cautious about completely aligning with Washington and instead value their commercial interests with China.
Russia and China are jointly developing weapons that could undermine China’s economic clout with other countries and favor the US. Their strategic exercises and coordinated drills are pressuring US allies in the western Pacific without the need for a formal military alliance.
In conclusion, Putin’s proposal to share satellite intelligence further strengthens the defense cooperation between Russia and China. Their collaboration in advanced technologies and joint weapon development projects demonstrates their mutual interest in countering perceived threats from the US.