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Russian-Chinese military-political ties outperform Cold War-era unions – Chinese minister

"They rest on the principles of non-alignment", Li Shangfu said

MOSCOW, April 16. /TASS/. Russian-Chinese relations outperform Cold War-era military political unions, visiting Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu said after a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday.

Fragments of the meeting were aired by the Rossiya-24 television channel.

"We have very close relations. They outperform military-political unions of the Cold War era. They rest on the principles of non-alignment <…> and are very stable," he said.

"We are actively developing cooperation in practical spheres and our relations have entered a new era. Over the past 13 years, China has been Russia’s key trade partner. Developing our relations, we understand our countries’ responsibility. Especially bearing in mind that we are witnessing the biggest changes in the past 100 years, we are working shoulder to shoulder on raising the wellbeing of our peoples," he said.

Li Shangfu noted that the global economy is recovering very slowly. He also stressed the necessity of establishing peaceful relations between countries. "[Chinese President] Xi Jinping has advanced several important initiatives, including a civilizational initiative, an initiative of global development. As far as we know, the Russian side has a positive attitude to these initiatives," he added.

The Russian defense ministry said on April 14 that Li Shangfu will pay his first foreign visit as defense minister to Russia on April 16-18. He plans to have talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Shoigu, to discuss "the current state and prospects for the development of bilateral cooperation in the defense sphere, as well as current issues of global and regional security."

Putin’s meeting with the Chinese defense minister was held shortly after Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow on March 20-22. On the first day of Xi’s visit, the two leaders spoke one-on-one for 4.5 hours and held talks in various formats for six hours on the following day. The visit yielded two joint statements of the presidents.