China’s military leadership has pledged its support to Russia as tensions between Moscow and the West further deteriorate into diplomatic isolation, economic sanctions and dueling defense drills.
In his first visit to Russia, newly appointed Chinese Defense Minister Wei Feng attended the seventh Moscow International Security Conference accompanied by a delegation of other high-level military officials. Emphasizing that his trip was coordinated directly with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Wei said that he had two major messages for Russia at a time when both nations were attempting to modernize their armed forces and strengthen their hands in global affairs in spite of U.S. fears.
“I am visiting Russia as a new defense minister of China to show the world a high level of development of our bilateral relations and firm determination of our armed forces to strengthen strategic cooperation,” Wei said at a meeting with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, according to the state-run Tass Russian News Agency.
“Second, to support the Russian side in organizing the Moscow International Security Conference the Chinese side has come to show Americans the close ties between the armed forces of China and Russia, especially in this situation. We’ve come to support you,” he added. “The Chinese side is ready to express with the Russian side our common concerns and common position on important international problems at international venues as well.”
In response to Wei’s visit, his Russian counterpart also stressed better relations between the two countries, which once formed the world’s largest and most powerful communist alliance before falling out in the 1960s. With both Putin and Xi having been re-elected last month, the two presidents have successfully consolidated power in their respective countries.
“Thanks to the efforts of the leaders of our countries, the ties between Russia and China are now reaching a new and unprecedented level, becoming an important factor in ensuring peace and international security,” Shoigu said, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense.