Chinese and Russian Military Chiefs Target US at Beijing Security Forum
Russia Warns of Grave Danger
At the Beijing Xiangshan Forum, Chinese and Russian military chiefs voiced their criticism of the United States. Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu emphasized the dangers created by the West’s involvement in the Ukraine war. He warned that the escalation of the conflict could lead to a direct military clash between nuclear powers, with catastrophic consequences. Shoigu also praised the model of Russia-China relations, describing it as “exemplary”.
China’s Veiled Criticism
Meanwhile, Zhang Youxia, China’s vice chairman on the Central Military Commission, delivered veiled criticism of the United States and its allies. He accused “some countries” of attempting to undermine the Chinese government. However, Zhang also emphasized the importance of improved military ties with the United States. He expressed a willingness to develop military cooperation with the US based on mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation.
No High-Level Communications
High-level military-to-military communications between China and the US have been lacking since the appointment of Li Shangfu as the Chinese defence minister in March. Li was recently dismissed without explanation, and a replacement has not been named. In the absence of regular communications, tensions between the two countries, particularly regarding Taiwan and the South China Sea, continue to rise.
US Delegation’s Participation
Despite the strained relations, a US delegation led by Cynthia Xanthi Carras, China country director in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense, attended the Beijing Xiangshan Forum. It is not yet known whether the US team will have separate meetings with Chinese military officials. The participation of the US delegation comes as the two countries increase exchanges ahead of an anticipated summit between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping next month.
Taiwan and Core Interests
While there were conciliatory remarks about improving China-US military relations, there was no indication of a softer stance on issues such as Taiwan. Chinese Lieutenant General He Lei referred to a potential use of force against Taiwan as a “war for reunification, a just and legitimate war.” Zhang echoed this sentiment, stating that Taiwan is a core interest of China.
International Security Discussions
Many Western countries have chosen not to participate in the Beijing Xiangshan Forum or have only sent small, low-level delegations. These countries prefer to discuss international security issues at the Shangri-La Dialogue held annually in Singapore.
During the forum, Zhang and He Weidong, the commission’s third-ranked official, held bilateral meetings with defence ministers from Laos, Mongolia, Belarus, East Timor, and Myanmar.
Reporting by Yew Lun Tian and Beijing newsroom; Additional reporting by Lidia Kelly in Sydney; Writing by Laurie Chen and Greg Torode; Editing by Gerry Doyle and Tom Hogue
Read More of this Story at www.reuters.com – 2023-10-30 06:19:28
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