PARIS: China and Russia had turbulent relations during the Cold War, but over the past decades the two neighbours have pooled forces against the United States and developed economic cooperation.
As President Xi Jinping heads to Moscow next week, here are key dates in relations between the two countries since 1950.
1950: Korea war
In the aftermath of World War II, China and the Soviet Union in February 1950 sign a friendship, alliance and mutual assistance treaty.
During the 1950-1953 war on the Korean peninsula, the Soviet Union provides military assistance while Chinese forces fight alongside the North against the US-dominated international coalition which allied with the South.
1956: secret speech
In 1956, following the death of Stalin, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev delivers a speech denouncing the cult of personality and brutality of his predecessor, sending shockwaves through the Communist world.
Mao – already building his own cult of personality at home – later accuses Khrushchev of “revisionism” and of straying from the true path of communism, laying the groundwork for a decades-long souring of relations.
In November 1957, rivalry between China and the Soviet Union emerges during the International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties in Moscow.
The ideological and strategic split deepens in April 1960, when Khrushchev cancels a bilateral nuclear agreement.
In July 1963, the Chinese and Soviet communist parties break off contact over border incidents, disagreements over the Cuba crisis and the conflict between China and India.
Then, in August 1963, Beijing denounces the Partial Test Ban Treaty between the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union.
1969: border dispute
In November 1965, Chinese Communists begin to campaign against the new revisionism of Khrushchev within the international communist movement.
In 1969, a dispute over the eastern China-Russia border, along the Amur River, degenerates into armed clashes which leaves several hundred dead.
After a 30-year hiatus, a summit between Deng Xiaoping and Mikhail Gorbachev in May 1989 seals the normalisation of relations.
Beijing and Moscow agree in December 1992 to not join any politico-military alliance against each other.
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In September 1994, the two countries end their nuclear standoff, agreeing to withdraw their respective missiles.
1996: stand against the US
President Jiang Zemin and his Russian counterpart Boris Yeltsin in April 1996 establish in Beijing a strategic partnership for the 21st century to counter US international domination.
Meeting in Shanghai, China, Russia and three ex-Soviet central Asian states – Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan sign a security accord which will result in the birth of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in 2001.
2001: friendship treaty
The first China-Russia friendship treaty for five decades is signed at the Kremlin in July 2001.
In June 2005, a final agreement is signed resolving the dispute over the eastern part of the China-Russia border after 40 years of negotiations.
New Chinese President Xi Jinping chooses Moscow for his first official foreign visit in 2013, signing some 30 accords on oil and gas.
After the Syrian civil war breaks out in 2011, Russia and China block several draft resolutions at the UN Security Council condemning the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
Beijing also displays neutrality over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
2014: Energy cooperation
On May 21, 2014, China and Russia conclude a $400 billion mega gas supply contract over 30 years, after a decade of negotiations.
A joint pipeline is inaugurated in December 2019 which will take gas from eastern Siberia to China.
On June 28 2021, the two countries extend by five years their 2001 friendship treaty.
Russian and Chinese leaders in early February 2022 proclaim in Beijing their “unlimited friendship”. Several days later President Vladimir Putin orders the invasion of Ukraine.
In September 2022, at the height of the crisis with the West, Xi and Putin say they want to strengthen their links.
Beijing neither condemns nor openly supports the Russian offensive, while giving diplomatic support to Moscow and calling for a solution to the conflict.