China’s new defense minister, Tung Jun, said in a video call with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu that China is ready to fully support Russia on the “Ukraine issue” despite continued pressure from the West. This was reported by Nexta agency. The minister also said that their countries should “raise mutual relations between their armed forces to a new level”.
In his conversation with Tung, Shoigu said that Russia and China are developing “comprehensive military cooperation” but “does not focus on any specific third country”. The Russian defense minister also said he was looking forward to “the closest and most fruitful partnership possible” and that he believed his talks with Tung would contribute significantly to that. “Russian-Chinese military relations are constantly developing in all directions. We regularly hold joint naval, air, land and combat exercises at various levels of complexity,” Shoigu said.
However, after a call with Tung on Wednesday, Shoigu said that Russia and China do not have any formal alliance commitments. “Unlike some Western countries, our two states do not form a military bloc,” he told Russian media.
Tung, a former top commander of China’s navy, is the third defense minister of the People’s Republic of China in the past year, with his two predecessors, Wei Fenghe and Li Shangfu, removed by President Xi Jinping, apparently on suspicion of corruption. The interview with Shoigu was Tung’s first diplomatic appearance in his current role, to which he was appointed on December 29 last year.
Both defense ministers agreed that current Sino-Russian relations are the best in history thanks to the leadership of Presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin. In February 2022, just before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Putin himself declared that the two countries were bound together by a “partnership without borders.”