Philip SnowMay 18, 2023
China and Russia
Four Centuries of Conflict and Concord
Yale University Press 2023
If there’s a starting point to the relationship between Russia and China, it’s likely the 1650s—when Manchu and Cossack forces clash near Khabarovsk, and when Russia sends its first, and unsuccessful, embassy to China.
It’s an inopportune start to four centuries of trade, diplomacy, imperialism, ideology–and a lot of personal griping between different Russian and Chinese leaders, as charted by Philip Snow’s China and Russia: Four Centuries of Conflict and Concord (Yale University Press, 2023)
Snow writes of Russian territorial grabs, China’s reliance on its northern neighbor for diplomatic support and training, Russia’s confused attitude towards Asia—and then the rapid reversal of power and status with the death of Stalin.
In this interview, Philip and I talk about the China-Russia relationship, spanning four centuries–and what that history tells us about China and Russia’s relations today.
Philip Snow has traveled extensively in Russia and China since the 1960s and has lived in Hong Kong since 1994. An expert in China’s international relations, he is the author of The Star Raft: China’s Encounter with Africa (Cornell University Press: 1989) and The Fall of Hong Kong: Britain, China, and the Japanese Occupation (Yale University Press: 2003)
Nicholas Gordon is an associate editor for a global magazine, and a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. He can be found on Twitter at@nickrigordon.