China Open to Strengthening Military ‘Coordination’ with Russia

TOPSHOT - Russia's President Vladimir Putin (C) reviews a military honour guard with Chine
GREG BAKER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

A spokesman for the Chinese Defense Ministry said on Thursday that China is ready to increase military cooperation with Russia after dictators Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin met in Moscow two weeks ago.

“The Chinese military is willing to work together with the Russian military to fully implement the important consensus reached by the two heads of state, further strengthening strategic communication and coordination,” Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Tan Kefei said.

Tan said this enhanced cooperation could include more joint exercises and patrols, such as the five days of training held in the Gulf of Oman by China, Russia, and Iran during the week of March 15. Tan said the exercises would help the three authoritarian countries to “jointly carry out diversified maritime military missions.”

Tan insisted China’s coordination with Russia would be different from the military alliances of the Cold War because it is “based on the principles of non-alliance, non-confrontation, and non-targeting of third parties,” a declaration that may come as something of a surprise to the Ukrainians.

Tan said Russia would help to implement China’s “Global Security Initiative,” a hazy piece of Chinese Communist propaganda from last summer that portrays Beijing as the selfless guarantor of world peace, but somehow managed to overlook the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a threat to global security.

China last week denied reports in Western media that it has provided assistance to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, possibly including lethal weapons. Customs data examined by reporters told a different story, revealing Chinese corporations began shipping assault rifles, body armor, and drone parts to Russia in the summer of 2022, although not yet in mass quantities. The White House issued a public warning for China to refrain from aiding the invasion in any way.

Putin insisted on Sunday that Russia and China are not “creating any military alliance.”

“Yes, we have cooperation in the sphere of military-technical interaction. We are not hiding this. Everything is transparent, there is nothing secret,” he said in comments broadcast on Russian state television.

Putin dismissed Westerners skeptical of the Russian-Chinese partnership as “jealous” and compared NATO to the Axis powers of World War 2. The day before he made these remarks, Putin announced Russia would move tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus.


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