Less than a month after Chinese leader Xi Jinping visited Moscow for a three-day state visit, Russian President Vladimir Putin has met with China’s defence minister, General Li Shangfu. The meeting highlights China’s increasing engagement with Russia, with which it has largely aligned its foreign policy in an attempt to diminish the influence of the United States and other Western democracies.
China has refused to criticise Russia’s military actions in Ukraine and blames the US and NATO for provoking Moscow. However, China’s foreign minister said last week that China wouldn’t be helping Russia with weapons, as the US and other Western allies have feared. Officially, China remains neutral in the Ukraine conflict. However, Xi’s trip emphasised how China is increasingly becoming the senior partner in the relationship as it provides Russia with political cover and an economic lifeline during the Ukraine conflict.
In comments opening the meeting, Putin praised the general development of Russia-China relations. “We are also working actively through the military departments, regularly exchanging information that is useful to us, cooperating in the field of military-technical cooperation, conducting joint exercises, moreover, in different theatres: in the Far East region and in Europe and at sea and on land and in the air,” he said, according to the Kremlin.
Li said that the countries’ relations “outperform the military-political unions of the Cold War era. They rest on the principles of nonalignment and are very stable.” He added that Russia-China ties have “already entered a new era.”
The meeting between Putin and Li comes as Russia is seeking to expand its influence in Asia, while China is looking to extend its reach beyond its borders. The two countries have been working together on a number of projects, including a gas pipeline that will run from Russia to China.
The pipeline is expected to be completed by 2019 and will provide China with a new source of natural gas. Russia is also looking to sell China advanced weapons, including the S-400 missile system.
The meeting between Putin and Li is seen as a sign that China is becoming more involved in Russia’s military affairs. This is significant because China has traditionally been reluctant to get involved in other countries’ military affairs.
China’s growing involvement in Russia’s military affairs is also seen as a sign that the two countries are becoming closer politically. This is significant because China has traditionally been wary of getting too close to Russia, which it sees as a potential rival.
The meeting between Putin and Li is also significant because it comes at a time when Russia is seeking to expand its influence in Asia. Russia has been seeking to strengthen its ties with China, India, and other Asian countries in recent years in an attempt to counterbalance the influence of the United States in the region.
Russia’s efforts to expand its influence in Asia have been met with mixed results. While Russia has been able to strengthen its ties with China and India, it has had less success in other countries, such as Japan and South Korea.
Despite these challenges, Russia remains committed to expanding its influence in Asia. The meeting between Putin and Li is seen as a sign that Russia is continuing to pursue this goal.
Overall, the meeting between Putin and Li highlights the growing importance of the relationship between Russia and China. As the United States continues to withdraw from the world stage, Russia and China are becoming increasingly important players in global affairs. The meeting between Putin and Li is a sign that this trend is likely to continue in the coming years.