Last weekend, China’s Defense Minister Li Shangfu traveled to Moscow for meetings with his Russian counterpart, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, and had an unexpected meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Reuters reported.
China and Russia have declared a “no limits” partnership, moving to further strengthen their political, economic, and military ties since the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Moscow to meet with President Putin where the two to further military cooperation and step up their joint sea and air patrols.
Footage of Sunday’s meeting shown on Russian state TV showed President Putin greeting Li and sitting down at a table along with Defense Minister Shoigu, where they hailed the military cooperation between their two countries.
Putin said the military departments of Russia and China are actively working together, exchanging “useful information” “in the field of military-technical cooperation.” He boasted of the joint military exercises China and Russia have conducted in the Far East and Europe using naval, ground, and air forces.
The Russian president described this military partnership as “another crucial area” that will strengthen the “extremely trusting, strategic nature” of Russian/Chinese relations.
Speaking through an interpreter, Li told Putin that Russia and China’s military cooperation has been developing well in recent months.
While Beijing announced last week that Li was visiting Moscow to meet with Russian defense officials, it said nothing about a meeting with President Putin.
In his opening statement during Tuesday’s meeting with Shoigu and other defense officials, Li vowed to take China’s military cooperation with Russia to a new level, the Associated Press reported.
He said the armed forces of the two nations would be implementing agreements to expand “military cooperation, military-technical ties, and arms trade.”
China refuses to criticize Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which it has blamed on NATO and the US provoking Russia.
Last Friday, China’s foreign minister reaffirmed that Beijing would not sell weapons to either Russia or Ukraine in the ongoing conflict.