Chinese, Russian defense chiefs hold conference call

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe recently had a phone call with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu, to “exchange views on international and regional issues of common concern,” an official said Thursday. responsible.

Speaking at a monthly briefing, Defense Ministry spokesman Colonel Tan Kefei gave no further details and did not say exactly when the call took place.

China has tacitly supported Russia in its aggression against Ukraine, accusing the United States and NATO of provoking the conflict and refusing to call it an invasion out of respect for Moscow. China has stopped supplying arms to Russia or getting directly involved in the conflict, something the United States has strongly warned against.

Just weeks before Russia’s invasion in February, Chinese President Xi Jinping issued a joint statement with Russian President Vladimir Putin saying their countries had “limitless” friendship.

Putin reaffirmed that relationship more recently in a congratulatory message to Xi on Sunday for his unprecedented third term as leader of the Chinese Communist Party.

Shoigu called his Indian and Chinese counterparts on Wednesday to share Moscow’s concerns about “possible Ukrainian provocations involving a ‘dirty bomb'”, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

China and Russia have increasingly aligned their foreign policies in opposition to the US-led Western world order. However, Russia’s setbacks in its invasion have seen Beijing play an increasingly dominant role in the relationship, although China is also currently facing a faltering economy.

The Russian invasion has refocused attention on China’s threat to use military force to annex Taiwan, the self-governing island republic and close US ally that it claims as its own territory.

Taiwan has joined the United States and its allies in supporting Ukraine. On Wednesday, its foreign minister, Joseph Wu, said Taipei would offer Kyiv an additional $56 million to rebuild schools, hospitals and other infrastructure destroyed by Russia. Taiwan will also offer scholarships for Ukrainians to study on the island, Wu said.

Ukrainian lawmaker Kira Rudik, who is part of a delegation visiting Taiwan this week, said the island could be the next front in the fight for democracy.

“That’s why we have to support each other, that’s why we are getting closer and closer in our relationship. We will win this war together,” Rudik said as quoted by Taiwan’s Central News Agency.

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