Russian, Chinese defense ministers tout close bilateral ties during meeting –

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (L) shakes hands with Minister of National Defense of the People’s Republic of China Dong Jun on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Defense Ministers’ meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan, on Friday. Photo by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service/EPA-EFE

April 27 (UPI) — The defense ministers of Russia and China have emphasized the close bilateral ties between the two nations even as the United States voices displeasure over China’s stance on the Ukraine war.

China’s Dong Jun met with Russia’s Sergey Shoigu in Astana, Kazakhstan, on Friday during a meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organization member nations, and both leaders made statements affirming their cooperation.

“We are determined to implement all agreements reached at the highest level,” the Russian defense chief said, according to an official statement.

The two sides, he said, generally agreed “on the fundamental issues of the current world order and pressing international problems.”

Russia and China “are consistently working to build comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation” in a world where “new hotbeds of tension are emerging and things are getting worse in the existing ones. In fact, this is the result of the West’s geopolitical escapades and selfish neocolonial activities,” Shoigu said.

Meanwhile, China’s Dong said it is “particularly important that the relations between our armed forces maintain a high dynamic and respond to the trends of the times,” the Russian state news agency TASS reported.

The relationship between the two countries “is important for strategic stability on the planet,” Dong said.

The declaration of close ties between China and Russia came as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Chinese President President Xi Jinping, Foreign Minister Wang Yi and other top leaders of the Chinese Communist Party for “in-depth, substantive, and constructive discussions” on global issues.

The main thrust of the meeting was an attempt to find agreement on a broad range of topics and to “stabilize” the relationships between the two Pacific superpowers. but the issue of China’s military relationship with Russia continued to be a sore point.

During the meeting, the State Department said Blinken “raised serious concerns with [Chinese] support to Russia’s defense industrial base that is enabling Russia to prosecute its war against Ukraine and undermining European and transatlantic security.”

“In my discussions today, I reiterated our serious concern about the PRC providing components that are powering Russia’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine,” Blinken told reporters in Beijing.

China, he said, is the top supplier of machine tools and microelectronics critical to Moscow’s weapons production as it ramps up a defense industrial base that is “churning out rockets, drones, tanks, and other weapons” used by Russian President Vladimir Putin “to invade a sovereign country, to demolish its power grid and other civilian infrastructure, to kill innocent children, women, and men.

“Russia would struggle to sustain its assault on Ukraine without China’s support,” the U.S. diplomat said.

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