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China, Russia Defense Ministers meet in Moscow
April 18, 2015, 5:47 am

Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Chang Wanquan (L) meets with  Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu in Moscow, Russia, on April 16, 2015 [Xinhua]

Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Chang Wanquan (L) meets with Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu in Moscow, Russia, on April 16, 2015 [Xinhua]

Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan has met with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu in Moscow where the two leaders pledged to push ahead with bilateral “pragmatic, comprehensive military cooperation”.

Chang is in Russia attending the fourth Moscow Conference on International Security that began on Friday.

The Chinese defense minister also promised continued efforts in preparing for joint Sino-Russian celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Russian Defense Minister Shoigu said Russia sees bilateral military cooperation with China as “one of its top priorities”.

He was quoted by China’s CNTV as saying Russia is committed to “deeper and more coordinated military ties between the two sides”.

China’s President Xi Jinping has made a strong military a key plank of his plan for a revitalized China.

On Friday in Moscow, Chang said China needs a defense force matching its development needs and that a fair and just international order needs to be established.

“The Chinese People’s Liberation Army is an active contributor to world peace, stability and development. China is a constructive member in international security. With its growing economy, China needs a national defense and military force that is commensurate with its development needs, not only to safeguard national interests, but to improve its fulfilment of its international obligations,” the Chinese Defense Minister said.

Representatives from more than 70 countries and regions are attending the annual meeting in Russia to discuss global and regional security issues.

China will raise its defense budget by around 10 per cent this year, an announcement made during the annual session of the country’s top legislature in March said.

China has repeatedly said its military spending is necessary for it to contribute to peace in the Asia-Pacific, and to reflect its status as a regional power.

“The Chinese People’s Liberation Army are not Boy Scouts with red-tasseled spears,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters last year in Beijing. “Some foreigners always expect China to be a baby Scout. In that way, who will safeguard our national security? What about protecting world peace?”

“Even if he’s a Boy Scout he will get bigger every year, and his feet will get bigger every year. You can’t always make him wear the same small clothes as before, and the same small shoes,” Qin said.

While presenting the military budget for 2015, US President Barack Obama exceeded the spending limits of the Congress, arguing it is needed to keep an eye on rivals like China and Russia.

US defense spending still accounts for nearly 40 per cent of the global total. Obama sent the US Congress a military spending proposal for 2016 that calls for a Pentagon base budget of $534 billion, plus $51 billion in funding for wars overseas.



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