Russia and China want to become world leaders in technology, security and artificial intelligence

What happened now? Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping have announced that they intend to make their countries world leaders in information technology, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence, which may be a daunting goal given the number of technology-related sanctions and export controls imposed on both nations.

Jinping visited Moscow this week for three days of talks with his Russian counterpart. This has led to a number of agreements in various areas, listed in document titled “Joint Statement of the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation on Deepening the Comprehensive Strategic Coordination Partnership in the New Era”.

The document is filled with language that one would expect from the two leaders, including criticism of the “hypocritical narrative of the so-called ‘democracy versus authoritarianism’.” There are also sections on countries’ technological ambitions.

The presidents agreed to form new models of cooperation in such industries as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, 5G, the digital economy and the low-carbon economy. “Technological sovereignty is the key to sustainability. We propose further improvement of strategic partnerships in specific industries. By combining our rich research potential and industrial potential, Russia and China can become world leaders in the field of information technology, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. is reading.

It is difficult to imagine that any of the countries will become a world leader in these areas, given their limited ability to use foreign technologies. Russia, of course, has come under numerous sanctions since it invaded Ukraine more than a year ago; IBM, Nvidia, Intel and many others have stopped selling their products in the country.

Russia has previously made a bold statement that it will invest in domestic R&D, manufacturing and training, with the intention of producing chips using the 28nm node by 2030. At present, Russia’s inability to obtain reliable semiconductors forces it to use components taken from dishwashers and refrigerators in its tanks.

Sanctions against Russia have led it to turn to the Chinese gray market to import semiconductors. Unfortunately for Putin, almost half of them are defective.

China’s sanctions on chip manufacturing tools are well documented. The limits, introduced in October, are intended to limit the country’s logic chips to a 14nm node, DRAM to 18nm, and 3D NAND flash to 128 layers. The US says this will prevent China from developing semiconductors for military applications, including supercomputers, nuclear weapon simulations and hypersonic weapons.

Chinese companies filled warehouses with chip-making equipment in preparation for new restrictions from the Netherlands that went into effect earlier this month.

Despite the limitations, a recent think tank report claims China leads US research on 37 of 44 critical technologies.

Elsewhere in the Russian-Chinese document, it states that “both sides support the UN Ad Hoc Committee on the Development of a Comprehensive International Convention Against the Use of Information and Communication Technologies for Criminal Purposes.” Again, this seems a little surprising given that the majority of state-sponsored hackers hail from these two countries.

In related news, the Kremlin earlier this week told officials involved in Putin’s 2024 re-election campaign to get rid of their iPhones as a precaution against Western agencies. Alternatively, they could give the phones to “children”. The Kremlin seems to think Cupertino phones are easier to hack and more susceptible to spying by Western spies than other smartphones.

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