Chinese defense minister Wei Fenghi together with the Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi are presently in Moscow to meet with their Russian counterparts. The visit is largely to act as a show of force to Washington to demonstrate the closeness of Russian and Chinese militaries, as well as to show their backing of Russia at the 7th Moscow Conference on International Security. RT reports:
Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe voiced strong support for Russia during the talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Shoigu. While stressing “the united position” on the international arena, the minister said that one of the main goals of the visit was to send a message to Western powers.
“The Chinese side came to let the Americans know about the close ties between the Russian and Chinese armed forces,” Wei said.
It is General Wei’s first foreign trip since he was appointed head of the Chinese Defense Ministry. The choice of the destination is not a coincidence, but underlines the “special character” of the bilateral partnership, according to Shoigu.
Both Russia and China have been involved in political and economic clashes with the West. Russia has been the subject of several rounds of sanctions lately as Russia and the US butt heads over the Syrian crisis, and as Washington continues to allege that the Kremlin influenced the 2016 American presidential election through social media trolling and a batch of ads that were purchased in rubles, and as Washington has expelled dozens of Russian diplomats in solidarity with the UK over the Skripal poisoning case, wherein the UK government alleges that the Kremlin ordered the assassination of a former spy through the use of a banned chemical nerve agent. The US is additionally selling arms to European nations who are politically hostile to Russia in an event to militarily corral Russia, allegedly over the annexation of Crimea.
Meanwhile, the US has accused China of “economic aggression” and “theft of intellectual property” belonging to American firms as a condition of access to their market, as well as the Chinese position in the South-China Sea. These allegations of economic aggression and intellectual property theft have since sparked a trade war between the two trading partners as the US has issued a package of tariffs on goods exported from China to the US, together with a second such round following China’s retaliatory tariff measures, which are likely to be followed up with another such round as the US’s latest tariff package takes the scene. China’s “economic aggression” is also considered by the West to be manifested in China’s new One Belt One Road Initiative, and will likely be applied to China’s new oil futures market, opened in Shanghai just last week.
Notably, China and Russia are both listed as threats to US national security in the latest Nuclear Defense Posture Review issued by the Pentagon, and where top military brass has been urging the US Congress to be prepared for war with these two nations. Meanwhile, the US Naval Institute has been chronicling Sino-Russian military cooperation over the years, and last year issued a report, centered around Russia-China military exercises and arms sales:
China and Russia are growing closer militarily through a series of increasingly complex military exercises and sales of advanced arms that could create more security headaches for the U.S. and its allies, according to a new government report released Monday.
The report from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission outlines a pattern of cooperation between two of America’s security international rivals that could exacerbate tensions from Eastern Europe to the South China Sea – a pattern of cooperation in that has seen an uptick in the last several years.
This delegation may also be opening the way for a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Putin is scheduled to visit China for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit, to be held at Qingdao in June. Additionally, China and Russia are expressing their intentions to “closely cooperate” on resolving tensions on the Korean Peninsula, pointing to a potential peace pact being orchestrated with North Korea.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.