In fact, the two countries had more than 100 divisions of troops, combined, stationed along their common border and even fought several border clashes.
But that was then. Today, after Russian President Vladimir Putin was heavily sanctioned by the West for invading Ukraine, China -- which also has revisionist designs on the global order -- has moved closer to its former Communist foe in a bid to create a multipolar world once again.
To that end, Putin met with Chinese President Xi Jinping recently at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Uzbekistan, where he told Putin Beijing is "ready to team up" with Moscow, according to Great Game India.
The West’s “attempts to create a unipolar world have recently taken on an absolutely ugly shape and are absolutely unacceptable to the vast majority of nations on the planet,” the Russian leader told Xi, according to a state media translation. Putin also said such attempts were “absolutely unacceptable to the vast majority of nations on the planet," he added.
"We highly value the balanced position of our Chinese friends regarding the Ukrainian crisis, we understand your questions and concerns on this matter, and during today’s meeting we will of course clarify all of these in detail," Putin added, according to Great Game India.
Putin tells Xi Jinping that Russia “understands your questions and concerns” about Ukraine. Does that mean… China has some? pic.twitter.com/Zd5XNW7cMD
— max seddon (@maxseddon) September 15, 2022
Interesting contrast https://t.co/kplbb5rmbu
— Michael Bond (@HelloMrBond) September 15, 2022
In addition to boosting diplomatic cooperation, the Russian and Chinese militaries have also been engaging in joint land and naval operations. Also, China is snapping up cheap Russian oil, gas, and coal after Western countries decided to stop purchasing Russian fossil fuels and energy following the invasion.
During his remarks, Putin also addressed the issue of Taiwan reunification, which is vitally important to the ChiComs.
“We firmly adhere to the One China principle in practice. We condemn the provocations of the United States and its satellites in the Taiwan Strait," he said.
According to private intelligence firm Forward Observer, China is continuing to ramp up operations to retake Taiwan either peacefully or by force.
"[People's Republic of China] officials and PLA planners see Taiwan as a potential obstruction to naval advances into the East and South China Seas. The PLA knows that it cannot freely maneuver or effectively employ its A2/AD capabilities if a pro-western Taiwan exists, equipped with advanced weapons like the U.S.’s missile-killing Terminal High Altitude Air Defense system (THAAD). Taiwan must be brought under PRC control for both cultural and strategic reasons," the August 24 report stated.
"[T]he PRC views reunification of Taiwan almost as an act of charity. It believes that a peaceful reunification, similar to Hong Kong and Macau’s reintegration, will allow for greater cross-Straits economic and cultural cooperation. The PRC and Taiwan could then combine their economies for a greater global market share," the report continued.
"The PRC, as they did for Hong Kong and Macau, promises to respect and protect the rights and interests of all Taiwanese people – though the PRC’s definition of “rights and interests” is likely much different than the Taiwanese version. Below the surface, PRC leaders know these platitudes and promises hold little weight, but they intend to mouth the words while using political warfare, gray zone activity, and military coercion to force a mostly peaceful reunification," the report added.
Concluding, Forward Observer noted: "The PLA stands ready to assist and incentivize that 'mostly peaceful reunification' with increasingly intrusive military exercises that function as de facto blockades of the island. The PRC would like for Taiwan to come along peacefully, but it will choke it into submission if required."
Russia appears to be in that sphere now, as well.