Russia, China Highlight Joint Security Concerns
Russian and Chinese defence officials highlighted common interests and concerns over international security Wednesday as Beijing's military number-two held talks with Russian Defence Minister Igor Sergeyev, Russian media reported.
General Zhang Wannian, vice-chairman of China's Central Military Commission, said Beijing and Moscow had "common positions on Kosovo and the anti-missile defence problem," a reference to US plans to build a national missile defence system (NMD), news agencies said.
China and Russia are both opposed to the NMD project which they regard as a strategic threat despite Washington's assurances that it is intended to repel attacks by what the US considers to be rogue states.
"The strategic partnership and interaction of our two countries is moving forward successfully," ITAR-TASS reported him as saying.
Zhang, joint chairman of the Sino-Russian military-technical cooperation committee, arrived in Moscow Monday for a four-day visit at the invitation of Russian deputy prime minister Ilya Klebanov.
Sergeyev said close relations with China were "one of the main priorities of Russian policy," Interfax reported.
Russia understands "the importance of cooperation with China not only for bilateral relations but also for international security," he said.
The minister said he looked forward to a visit to Russia by Chinese President Jiang Zemin and "the planned signing during the visit of a memorandum of understanding between Russia and China on priority directions" in the two countries' affairs.
Russian President Vladimir Putin invited his Chinese counterpart to visit Moscow during his trip to Beijing last July, but no date for the return visit has yet been announced.
Zhang also held talks on the economic aspects of military-technical cooperation with Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, who visited Beijing last November.
On that occasion Kasyanov's Chinese counterpart Zhu Rongji said relations between Russia and China were at their "best ever" level.
The two countries spearhead international opposition to the NMD system which many believe would cement the role of the United States as the world's dominant power and possibly set the stage for an arms race in outer space – MOSCOW (AFP)
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)