Publication: Fortnight in Review Volume: 6 Issue: 13

?If the Kremlin’s new missile defense initiatives were successful at turning up the heat on Washington and at exploiting differences on these issues between the United States and its European allies, they may have had at least one unforeseen negative consequence for Moscow, however. The Chinese government, which has enthusiastically backed Moscow’s opposition to U.S. missile defense plans, appeared somewhat taken aback by Putin’s talk of pooling Russian, American, and European capabilities in a joint missile defense plan. Indeed, the Russian-Chinese “strategic partnership,” in recent years one of Moscow’s top diplomatic priorities, appeared to be challenged also by recent Kremlin moves to distance itself from the regime of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. Whether these hints of dissonance are of any significance may be revealed next month, when Putin is expected to meet twice with Chinese President Jiang Zemin.