Some Western media are very unprofessional as Chinese defense minister visits Russia: Global Times editorial
Published: Apr 17, 2023 12:50 AM


At the invitation of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Li Shangfu is scheduled to make an official visit to Russia from April 16 to 19. This is Li's first overseas visit since taking position in March, highlighting the high level strategic mutual trust between the Chinese and Russian militaries. The military-to-military ties between China and Russia having been operating at high level is key for the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era between China and Russia, and also adds weight to regional and global peace and stability.

This is a dignified and aboveboard visit. However, some Western media outlets seem to have been stepped on the tail, anxious to find some "unconventional signals" in the regular exchanges between China and Russia. Some insist on interpreting it as a trip to "reshape the world order" and "weaken American influence," and even hype up the possibility of China "providing weapons to Russia". These claims, if they are not out of malicious political intention, then are very unprofessional jargon. Obsession in hegemony and zero-sum games will only lead them to view normal interactions between other countries through the same "tainted glasses," seeing everyone like themselves.

Military diplomacy is an important part of a country's foreign relations and often serves as a barometer for the relationship between major powers. Good relations between two countries are reflected in good relations between their militaries, and good military relations can lead to even better bilateral ties. Chinese defense ministers have the tradition to choose a major power for their first foreign visit after assuming position.

Since the 1990s, both Russia and the US have been the first destinations for China's defense ministers' overseas visit. In 2013, 2018, and 2023, China's defense minister chose Russia as destination for their first visit after assuming position, which have also borne witness to the continuous improvement of the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination. As the largest neighbors of each other, the two countries' defense exchanges have significant importance for maintaining mutual security trust and mutual political trust, and normal relations with neighboring countries.

Against the backdrop of the escalating Ukraine crisis, it is understandable that some Europeans are paying close attention to the interaction between China and Russia, and how it may affect the direction of situation. However, some voices are hiding like Trojan horses, waiting for the chance to emerge. They first falsely accused China, trying to turn China, which is not a party to the conflict, into a party responsible. To put it plainly, this is smearing China by the West amid their anxiety. It will find excuses to emerge at any time and any place.

China is not obliged to repeatedly "prove its innocence" on this issue, nor does anyone have the right to force us to do so. China-Russia relationship is no-alliance, no-confrontation and not targeting any third party. We uphold such principle to develop friendly relations with all countries. China has never forced other countries to take sides, or form a clique to attack another in the international arena, naturally we will not reduce or downgrade cooperation with other partners due to external pressure. 

The joint statement on Deepening the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Coordination for the New Era between China and Russia, released on March 22, stated that the two sides will regularly organize joint maritime and air patrols, joint military exercise and training, strengthen various exchanges and cooperation between the two militaries under existing bilateral mechanisms, and further deepen military mutual trust. This is in line with the fundamental interests of both countries and their peoples, and will also contribute to maintaining regional and world peace and security.

Regarding the Ukraine crisis, China's position has been very clear from the very beginning, which is that we insist on promoting peace talks instead of fanning the flames. Since the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, this impartial position has been appreciated and understood by parties involved and other relevant parties. The international community has also increasingly expected China to play a more constructive role in promoting peace talks. Rather than seizing every opportunity to hype up issues when it comes to China-Russia cooperation, some Western media and politicians would do better to reflect on regional and global security issues and figure out who is the real instigator and major pusher of Russia-Ukraine conflict.

China and Russia have a high level of military trust and close coordination, which is crucial to regional peace and stability. Against the backdrop of worsening global geopolitical tensions, China-Russia relationship, which is steadily moving forward, will facilitate timely exchanges of views and coordination of positions on major issues, making it an essential pillar for maintaining global strategic balance. Consolidating and developing relationship with Russia is not only China's legitimate right, but also the responsibility of a major country.