China’s defense minister announced in Moscow on Tuesday that he had come “to show Americans” that his country is standing in solidarity with Russia, stirring up memories of the Cold War communist alliance between the two nations.
In a meeting with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, China’s new defense minister Wey Fenghe said he had come “to show the world a high level of development of our bilateral relations and firm determination of our Armed Forces to strengthen strategic cooperation.”
He added that he had “come to show Americans the close ties between the Armed Forces of China and Russia, especially in this situation. We’ve come to support you,” according to Russia’s state-run TASS News Agency.
Newsweek noted that the announcement of cooperation came as the two nations seek to thwart the United States’ influence abroad.
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) April 4, 2018
Russia has been bolstering its military forces in Europe and sent thousands of troops to Syria to support the regime of Bashar al Assad. Additionally, last week Moscow successfully carried out the second test of its Sarmat, nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile, which NATO has dubbed “Satan 2.”
The missile is intended to replace the nation’s aging Soviet-era missiles, ABC News reported.
Meanwhile, China has been expanding its presence in the South China Sea, building military bases on artificial islands in order to challenge the U.S. Naval hegemony in the region. The Asian nation has also been increasing its military footprint in Africa.
China’s military facility in Djibouti, at the mouth of the Red Sea, is just miles from America’s only permanent base in Africa, according to Military.com.
The announcement of military cooperation between Russia and China comes as both nations are in diplomatic squabbles with the United States.
Last week, the U.S. joined with over a dozen European nations in expelling dozens of Russian diplomats and closing Russia’s Seattle consulate in response to the Kremlin’s alleged poisoning of a British citizen and his daughter.
Russia retaliated by kicking out 60 U.S. diplomats and closing the American consulate in St. Petersburg.
Similarly, tensions exist between the U.S. and China after the Trump administration imposed tariffs on China’s electronics, aerospace, steel, aluminum and other products.
Beijing responded, promising to impose its own tariffs on such U.S. products as cars, soybeans, pork and whiskey if the two sides cannot reach an agreement.
The U.S. tariffs are set to take effect at the end of May if no deal is struck.
President Donald Trump has long argued China has been taking advantage of the U.S. in its trade practices.
“They have a trade deficit of $500 billion a year. It’s not something we can live with,” the president said at the White House on Tuesday. “So we’ll be working with China, we’ll be negotiating with China. Our relationship is very good with China, and we intend to keep it that way.”
Trump also spoke that same day about his desire to have good relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
President Trump: "I think I could have a very good relationship with Russia and with President Putin and if I did that would be a great thing. And there's also a great possibility that that won't happen. Who knows?"
— CSPAN (@cspan) April 3, 2018
“Nobody’s been tougher on Russia than I have,” he said at a news conference with Baltic state leaders when asked about Putin.
“That being said, I think I could have a very good relationship with President Putin. It’s possible I won’t,” the president added. “Remember this, getting along with Russia is a good thing. Getting along with China is a good thing.”
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