Military Mutual Trust Between China and Russia
Li’s visit marks his first overseas trip since taking on the role of defense minister last month. The meeting follows Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s state visit to Russia in March, during which the two countries pledged to deepen military mutual trust and strengthen military exchanges and cooperation.
Putin called Xi’s visit “very productive,” and said relations between Russia and China were developing well in all areas, including the military departments. Li noted that trust between the two countries’ militaries has been “increasingly consolidated” and cooperation has yielded “fruitful results.” China is ready to work with Russia to strengthen strategic communication and multilateral coordination and cooperation, Li said, citing consensus between Xi and Putin, according to a report published in CNN News.
Did Russia and China Talk About the Present War?
In a published article in VOA News, the conflict in Ukraine was not mentioned in the official readouts of the meeting. China has claimed neutrality in the conflict, but European leaders have expressed hope that Xi could use his rapport with Putin to push for peace.
During her visit to China last week, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Xi’s recent visit to Moscow indicates that no country has a larger influence over Russia than China. However, the Chinese leader has so far refused to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or make any public call for Russia to withdraw its troops.
The US and its allies have repeatedly raised concerns that China was considering sending lethal aid to the Kremlin’s war effort, a claim Beijing has denied. Li is expected to remain in Moscow until Wednesday, holding talks with Russian military officials and visiting Russian military academies during his visit. Li is also a member of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Military Commission, which controls the military in practice.