BEIJING (AP) — Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe held a recent phone call with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu, to “exchange views on international and regional issues of mutual interest,” an official said Thursday.
At a monthly briefing, Defense Ministry spokesman Colonel Tan Kefei did not elaborate and did not say exactly when the call took place.
China has tacitly backed Russia in its aggression against Ukraine, accusing the US and NATO of provoking the conflict and refusing to refer to it as an invasion in deference to Moscow. China has stopped short of providing weapons to Russia or becoming directly involved in the conflict, something the US 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 a “boundaryless” friendship.
Putin reaffirmed that relationship recently in a congratulatory message to Xi on Sunday for receiving an unprecedented third term as head of the Chinese Communist Party.
Shoigu called his counterparts in India and China on Wednesday to share Moscow’s concern about “possible provocations by Ukraine with 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 take an increasingly dominant role in the relationship, even as China also currently faces a faltering economy.
The Russian invasion has refocused attention on China’s threat to use military force to annex Taiwan, the autonomous island republic and close US ally that it claims as its own territory.
Taiwan has joined the US and its allies in supporting Ukraine. On Wednesday, its foreign minister, Joseph Wu, said Taipei would offer an additional $56 million to Kyiv 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’re getting closer and closer in our relationship. We are going to win this war together,” Rudik told the Central Taiwan News Agency.
(Disclaimer: This story is automatically generated from a syndicated feed; only the image and title may have been reworked by www.republicworld.com)