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Russian Defense Minister cites need for closer China ties
November 18, 2014, 1:55 pm

Chinese Defence Minister Chang Wanquan (R) meets with Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu in Beijing, capital of China, Nov. 18, 2014 [Xinhua]

Chinese Defence Minister Chang Wanquan (R) meets with Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu in Beijing, capital of China, Nov. 18, 2014 [Xinhua]

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in Beijing on Tuesday vowing to boost defense ties between the two countries.

In Beijing, Shoigu also met his Chinese counterpart General Chang Wanquan.

“Amid a highly volatile world situation, it becomes particularly important to strengthen reliable good-neighbourly relations between our countries,” Shoigu said on Tuesday.

The Russian Defense Minister’s visit comes close on the heels of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Beijing trip this month, during which the two allies signed 17 agreements.

“China is ready to consolidate mutual trust, promote concrete cooperation, and strengthen communication on major international and regional affairs for a China-Russia relationship which is conducive to peace, stability and development of the region and the world,” the Chinese Premier told Shoigu during the meeting on Tuesday.

China and Russia, in recent years, have seen unprecedented cooperation on key international issues, including the Syria and Ukrainian conflict. The two countries have repeatedly blocked UN efforts led by the West to take harsher measures against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, engaged in a civil war with rebel forces.

Russian and Chinesea military forces also “showed a high level of cooperation” during an operation to escort vessels carrying Syria’s chemical weapons, Shoigu said in Beijing on Tuesday.

China has also said it does not back western sanctions against Moscow over the Ukraine crisis, calling them “erroneous”.

The US and the European Union announced new sanctions in September to punish Moscow for its alleged backing of separatists in eastern Ukraine. This round’s sanctions targeted Russian state-run and private oil and gas companies, including Gazprom, Rosneft, Transneft, and Lukoil.

Earlier in September, China put its weight solidly behind Russian President Vladimir Putin’s seven-point peace plan for Ukraine.

The two countries are founding members of BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, or SCO, a regional security body established in 2001.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said during a SCO Summit in September that the leadership of Russia and China will “jointly face external challenges”.

“I am ready to maintain further contacts with you to strengthen mutual support and expand openness between our countries, so that we could always draw from each other’s support, jointly face external challenges and achieve our grand development and revival goals,” Xi told Putin.

The Russian Defense Minister has also discussed preparations for next year’s joint celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the Allied victory in WWII with Chinese officials.


TBP and Agencies

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