Discussion and debate about Sino-Russian relations is on the rise and attracts the attention of experts and policy-makers around the world. Russia and China are arguably two of the biggest players in the international system and their strategic partnership already possesses a great geopolitical weight. Through detailed investigation of this bilateral relationship over a variety of issue areas, I argue that the Sino–Russian rapprochement is externally driven rather having its own structure and dynamics. More specifically, realism’s balance of power theory and balance of threat theory provide a relatively convincing explanation regarding the driving factors of Sino-Russian rapprochement. The West is still a top priority for Russian and Chinese policymakers and will still be in the near future. But as China enters the 21century apparently poised to become a new superpower, Russia will have little choice but to make China a priority in its own right, independent of Moscow’s relationship with the West. But right now, the relationship of between China and Russia is largely driven by the dynamics of superpower polarity rather than having a structure of its own.