China Seeks More Cooperation With Russian Military

The defense chief of China, Li Shangfu, has declared the nation’s intention to “strengthen and consolidate” its military alliance with Russia.

This statement comes in the aftermath of the unsuccessful attempt by the Wagner Group to overthrow Russian President Vladimir Putin, marking the most severe challenge to his leadership to date.

During a discussion on Monday with Nikolai Yevmenov, Russia’s navy commander in chief, Chinese Defense Minister Li expressed that through the combined efforts of both countries, the military relationship will further strengthen and consolidate, making continuous advancements and achieving new heights, according to a report by Bloomberg.

Li, as per a press release from China’s defense department, conveyed his hopes for the Chinese and Russian naval forces to conduct regular joint drills and to “amplify practical collaboration.”

In response to the 2018 US-imposed sanctions over a Russian arms deal, Beijing has declined to re-engage in high-level military conversations with the US until the sanctions against Li are rescinded.

Yevmenov, as reported by China, stated that Russia greatly values its practical cooperation with the Chinese military across diverse areas.

He further stated Russia’s desire to maintain close ties with China, to progressively broaden naval interactions at all tiers, and to persistently propel the bilateral military relations to new heights.

Ever since Putin initiated an unsolicited attack on Ukraine in February 2022, China has stood by Russia.

The commander of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, incited a fleeting rebellion against Putin, which ended abruptly when he reached an agreement with the Kremlin for exile, thereby terminating the short-lived insurrection.

The response from Chinese officials to the rebellion was relatively subdued. The governing Chinese Communist Party dubbed the abrupt conclusion of the 22-hour rebellion as Moscow’s “domestic matter,” with state-run media asserting China’s endorsement of Russia.

The Chinese foreign office then stated its support for Russia’s measures to uphold national stability, and China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang convened with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko, as reported by Bloomberg.