China Says Open To Military Ties With US But Vows Deeper Cooperation With Russia

(Photo by PEDRO PARDO/AFP via Getty Images)

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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China’s top military official said China planned to strengthen ties with Russia while only expressing a vague openness toward restoring broken military communications with the U.S. at an international forum on Monday, the Financial Times reported.

Zhang Youxia, vice chair of China’s Central Military Commission, also delivered a veiled rebuke of U.S. engagement across the globe at the Xiangshan security forum alongside defense ministers from other countries and a representative from the Pentagon, the FT reported. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin had declined to go to the forum himself amid heightened concerns about the risk of prolonged disruptions in military-to-military engagement between the two powers.

“We will deepen strategic co-operation and co-ordination with Russia, and we are willing to develop military relations with the U.S. based on mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation,” Zhang said at the forum, according to the FT. (RELATED: Navy Shipbuilding Plan Would Reduce Fleet Size During Time That China Might Invade Taiwan)

At the same time, he criticized “certain countries” of “continuing to stir trouble around the world,” common rhetoric from Beijing usually aimed at the U.S. and its allies, according to the FT. Said countries “deliberately create turmoil, interfere in regional issues, interfere in other countries’ internal affairs and instigate color revolutions,” he added.

China, so far, has not provided overt financial and military support to Russia, but Beijing has sided with Moscow on issues related to the war. China and Russia say they have a partnership with “no limits.”

On Oct. 26, the U.S. revealed that a Chinese fighter jet closed in within 10 feet of a U.S. B-52 bomber flying through international airspace, highlighting the danger of what could happen if an accident occurred and the two countries lacked channels through which to de-escalate the situation.

China cut off military-to-military communication channels with the U.S. more than a year ago, but Washington has hoped to resuscitate military ties as a way to mitigate risk with its greatest geopolitical rival. The Xingshan forum, Beijing’s version of the annual meeting of defense ministers known as the Shangri-La Dialogue, was seen as an opportunity to improve relations on the military front, Reuters reported.

In late May, however, China’s former defense minister Li Shangfu had shunned an offer to engage with Austin.

China's Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission Zhang Youxia (L) and Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu arrive to the Xiangshan Forum in Beijing on October 30, 2023. Beijing says representatives of 90 countries are taking part in this week's Xiangshan Forum, a gathering of military and diplomatic officials billed as its answer to the annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. (Photo by Pedro PARDO / AFP) / "The erroneous mention[s] appearing in the metadata of this photo by Pedro PARDO has been modified in AFP systems in the following manner: [correcting name to Zhang Youxia] instead of [Zhang Youxian]. Please immediately remove the erroneous mention[s] from all your online services and delete it (them) from your servers. If you have been authorized by AFP to distribute it (them) to third parties, please ensure that the same actions are carried out by them. Failure to promptly comply with these instructions will entail liability on your part for any continued or post notification usage. Therefore we thank you very much for all your attention and prompt action. We are sorry for the inconvenience this notification may cause and remain at your disposal for any further information you may require."

China’s Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission Zhang Youxia (L) and Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu arrive to the Xiangshan Forum in Beijing on October 30, 2023. (Photo by PEDRO PARDO/AFP via Getty Images)

“We still believe that it is very important for the senior leaders of our two nations to continue to engage, to include between our two militaries. And so we will continue to seek opportunities to keep those lines of communication open, to prevent potential miscalculation,” Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said on Oct. 24.

President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi in Washington on Friday, according to the FT.

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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