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China’s defense minister visited Russia and Belarus in a show of support over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine

Beijing says the visit underscores efforts by China and Russia to align foreign policies in an effort to undermine the Western-led liberal-democratic world order. Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu visited Russia and Belarus to show support as the West tries to isolate the two allies over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Li left on Monday for a six-day trip during which he will deliver a speech at the Moscow International Security Conference and meet with defense officials from Russia and other countries, China’s Ministry of Defense said on its social media account, citing spokesman Col. Wu Qian. .

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is scheduled to speak at the conference on the topic of “Searching for ways for the majority of the world’s countries to develop outside of Western mechanisms, including strengthening multilateral associations of a new type,” Russia’s official TASS news agency reported.

Representatives of about 100 countries and eight international organizations were invited to participate, the agency said.

They will “discuss various aspects of security in the conditions of the establishment of a multipolar world order, ways of restoring constructive international cooperation in the context of the aggressive demands of the Euro-Atlantic elites for world domination,” TASS said, referring to the Russian Foreign Ministry. Spokesperson.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Chinese and Russian leaders “maintained strategic communication on various issues in different ways.”

“The two sides exchanged high-level views on wide-ranging topics including bilateral cooperation and issues of common concern,” Wang told reporters at a daily briefing.

“The two countries will continue to develop China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership in the new era,” he said.

That was an apparent reference to a joint statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing last year just before Russia’s invasion in February, in which they declared “friendship without limits.”

Meanwhile, Xi Jinping visited Moscow in March and sent a message to Western leaders that their efforts to isolate Moscow over the fighting in Ukraine had failed.

Li’s attendance at the conference further underscores China and Russia’s efforts to align their foreign policies in an effort to undermine the Western-led liberal-democratic world order, despite economic and reputational costs.

This will be followed by a visit to Belarus, a close Russian ally, whose territory was partly used to organize last year’s invasion. While there, Li will hold meetings with Belarusian state and military leaders and visit military facilities, the ministry said.

China claims to be neutral in the conflict but has accused the United States and its allies of provoking Russia and maintains strong economic, diplomatic and trade ties with Moscow.

China has reliably backed Russia in opposing US condemnation of its invasion of Ukraine in international forums, but says it will not provide weapons to either side in the war.

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