China that has become more active and assertive, both domestically and internationally, under President Xi Jinping’s leadership – even as growth slows.

China has openly sided with Russia over its unprecedented security demands, calling for a halt to Nato’s eastward expansion.

A joint declaration signed by Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin recently lashed out at Nato for being aggressive towards its neighbours.

“The sides oppose further enlargement of Nato and call on the North Atlantic Alliance to abandon its ideologies Cold War approach,” the statement said, urging Nato to respect other countries’ sovereignty and interests.

Russia had been locked in weeks of negotiations with the US and Nato on its security concerns even though Nato rejected its core demands right away, insisting that it was only up to them to decide whether to accept new members or not.

At the recent meeting with the Chinese leader, president Putin praised the bilateral ties as an example of mutually beneficial cooperation.

2672238 08/03/2015 Members of the Chinese Ministry of Defense team during the Tank Biathlon Championship held as part of the 2015 International Army Games at the Alyabino firing range near Moscow. Maksim Blinov/RIA Novosti

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