Senior officials from Russia and China agreed to conduct more joint military exercises and enhance defense cooperation, according to data on Monday, suggesting that whatever Beijing’s concerns about the war in Ukraine, the strategic partnership between the two countries is getting closer.
Nikolai B. Patrushev, head of Russia’s Security Council, and China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, met in the southeastern province of Fujian where they agreed to conduct more joint military exercises and patrols and enhance coordination between their countries’ defense officials, according to the Russian agency. statement.
“The two countries continue to deepen strategic coordination, and always firmly support each other on issues related to each other’s core interests and major concerns,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in the meeting summary.
The visit came days after President Vladimir Putin met in Uzbekistan with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, after which he admitted that China “Questions and concernsAbout the situation in Ukraine. This covert admission has led some analysts to conclude that despite public declarations that the two countries’ friendship is “limitless,” Mr. Xi’s support for Mr. Putin has not been unconditional.
Although Mr. Xi did not publicly refer to the situation in Ukraine during the meeting in Uzbekistan, he said that China “is willing to work with Russia to demonstrate the responsibility of a major country, play a leadership role and inject stability into a troubled world.” , according to a Chinese government statement. Some experts said the statement sounded like a rebuke to Moscow for its invasion.
Neither side indicated any such disagreements following Monday’s senior officials meeting.
Mr. Yang emphasized the relationship between Mr. Xi and Mr. Putin, adding that “the leadership of heads of state is the primary guarantee of the long-term stability and vitality of bilateral relations.”
Speaking in Fujian, Mr. Patrushev said, “The cooperation between Russia and China in the field of security has deep historical roots.”
“In the current conditions, our countries should express better readiness for mutual support and development of cooperation,” said Mr. Patrushev, according to Russia’s Interfax news agency. Mr. Patrushev also met with Wang Xiaohong, a high-ranking Chinese security official.
Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has complicated China’s balancing act between Russia and the West. China has provided a lifeline for Russia, greatly mitigating the impact of Western sanctions that have slashed Russia’s energy exports and halted its industrial cooperation with developed countries.
This year, trade between Russia and China increased by more than a quarter, and China agreed to work on a major gas pipeline project through Mongolia that could compensate for Russia’s cut off from the European energy market.
However, at the same time, China was careful not to conflict with its Western trading partners. It has not shipped weapons to Russia, which has instead turned to suppliers including Iran and North Korea, according to US officials, and has done little to help Moscow circumvent sanctions that prevent it from importing advanced Western technology.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei V. Lavrov said that Russian and Chinese officials will coordinate closely at the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week.
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