China’s defence minister to visit Russia, Belarus this week

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Chinese Defence Minister Li Shangfu speaks at the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. — Reuters/File
Chinese Defence Minister Li Shangfu speaks at the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. — Reuters/File

Chinese Defence Minister Li Shangfu will visit Russia and Belarus this week, the Chinese defence ministry confirmed in an online statement on Monday.

Since China has refused to condemn Russia’s internationally denounced invasion of Ukraine, relations between Beijing and Moscow have remained cordial.

“At the invitation of Russian Defence Minister (Sergei) Shoigu and Belarusian Defence Minister (Viktor) Khrenin, from August 14 to 19, State Councillor and Defence Minister Li Shangfu will go to Russia to attend the 11th Moscow Conference on International Security, and visit Belarus,” a Chinese defence ministry spokesperson said.

Li’s visit to Russia will also involve discussions with the heads of the defence ministries of Russia and other nations, as well as a speech at the international security forum, the spokesperson added.

Vladimir Putin’s adviser said last month that the Russian leader intended to visit China in October. Moreover, President Xi Jinping announced the two nations’ relations were entering a new era during a state visit to Moscow in March.

Frequently praising their “no limits” alliance and cooperation in the economic and military domains, China and Russia are strategic friends.

After Russia started its military campaign in Ukraine in February of last year and due to the ensuing Western economic sanctions, their ties deepened even further.

Beijing has specifically refrained from denouncing the Russian attack.



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