Russia and China show solidarity

  • Russia’s decision to give a high-profile welcome to Chinese Defence Minister Li Shangfu on his first international trip in the job is a show of solidarity in the face of geopolitical pressure from Washington and its allies.
  • After arriving in Moscow on 16 Apr, Li held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a meeting that had not been announced before the trip. The Chinese defence minister’s itinerary was only expected to include discussions with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu and visits to Russian military academies.
  • Although not unprecedented, it is rare for a visiting Chinese defence chief to be greeted in Moscow by Putin.
  • During the talks with the Russian president, Li said China was willing to work with Russia to “further enhance strategic communication between the two militaries, strengthen multilateral coordination and cooperation, and make new contributions to maintaining world and regional security and stability”.
  • He also said military and political ties between the two countries “outperformed” Cold War-era unions, and rested on the principles of non-alignment, according to the Kremlin.
  • The Kremlin also said Putin praised cooperation between the two armed forces, saying they regularly exchanged information, cooperated on the military-technology front, as well as conducted joint exercises in the Far East region and in Europe.

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