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China is purchasing Russian land – could that destabilise relations between the two nations?

As part of UnHerd’s #ChinaNotTrump week, on Wednesday Liam Halligan wrote about the rise of the yuan, and the threat it poses to the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. In his article, he touched on the growing ties between Russia and China. It is worth asking, however, whether this relationship is built to last?

With China growing rapidly, there are signs that The People’s Republic wants more from its neighbour than just business.

This has already begun to stir trouble for Russia. Chinese purchasing of property by Lake Baikal in Siberia, has resulted in a petition calling for a ban on land sales to the Chinese. The petition achieved 55,000 signatures,  and, as reported by the Financial Times, was further stoked by newspaper headlines referring to China’s behaviour as an “invasion”. This is not the first time the Chinese have been seen to be making a land grab. In 2015, the Chinese began renting land in Siberia equivalent to the size of Hong Kong, for a duration of 49 years.

If China seeks access to more land from its neighbour, rather than increasing ties between the two nations, could it instead fuel Russian nationalism against China?