US-Sanctioned Chinese Defense Minister Meets Putin in Moscow.

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Chinese Defence Minister Li Shangfu met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow to discuss military cooperation. This encounter took place less than a month after Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a three-day state visit to Moscow. Putin began the conference by emphasising that both nations are actively working together on military-technical cooperation, sharing important information on a regular basis, and performing joint exercises.

Military Cooperation Between Russia and China

Since Moscow dispatched tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in February 2022, Russia and China have deepened their economic, diplomatic, and military relations. China has not condemned Russia’s military activities in Ukraine, instead blaming the US and NATO for inciting Moscow. Washington has accused Beijing of considering military sales to Moscow, which Beijing rejects. Putin praised military drills combining ground, naval, and air units in the Far East and Europe for enhancing the strategic character of the two nations’ partnership.

Chinese Defence Minister’s Special Visit

Li’s visit to Russia will run through April 19, and it will be the defence minister’s first tour outside of China since his appointment last month. He emphasised the unique character and strategic significance of Russia-China relations. The defence minister also stated that China was eager to cooperate with Russia to “further strengthen strategic communication between the two militaries,” according to a summary of the meeting provided by China’s defence ministry. Last week, Beijing confirmed Li’s journey to Moscow, stating he would meet with defence officials but making no mention of a meeting with Putin.

Stable Russia-China Relations

Li remarked that Russia-China relations have “already entered a new era” and that the two nations’ relationship has surpassed the Cold War-era military-political alliances. In statements translated on Russian television, Li stated that the two countries’ strong ties are highly stable. Putin’s visit with the US-sanctioned Chinese Defence Minister represents a deepening of military cooperation between the two nations amid worries about their growing aggressiveness in the international arena.

Image resource: ©MIKHAIL TERESHCHENKO/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images
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