By Guo Yuandan
BEIJING, March 30 (ChinaMil) -- China’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) directly told the world on March 29 that the main reason why the newly appointed Chinese defense minister chose Russia for his first visit is that “the China-Russia relationship is the best major countries relationship in today's world”.
Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe will attend the 7th Moscow Conference on International Security in Russia, and pay a visit to Russia and Belarus from April 1 to 8, 2018, said Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang, deputy director of the Information Bureau of the Office for International Military Cooperation of China’s Central Military Commission and spokesperson for China’s MND, at a regular press conference on March 29, 2018.
As for why Wei Fenghe chose Russia as his first visit destination after he assumed the position of the defense minister, Ren said that China and Russia are each other’s primary and most important strategic partner of coordination. The China-Russia relationship is the best major-country relationship in today’s world. This relationship is as firm as a rock.
In contrast, Pentagon officials said in mid-January that the US Secretary of Defense James Mattis planned to visit China for the first time this spring. Ren said that the Chinese and the US defense establishments are still coordinating Secretary Mattis’ visit to China.
This statement did not reveal specific progress compared to the press release in January. However, Ren stressed that “other exchange programs between the two militaries are also proceeding smoothly.”
The attitude of the Chinese military is very clear when it comes to China-US relations. The development of a healthy and stable relationship between the Chinese and US armed forces is an important consensus of the two heads of state. It is also the common interest of the two countries and the two armed forces.
However, the Chinese military also firmly defends China’s sovereign security and development interests. This is the reason why the Chinese MND took a tough stance when US Navy ships entered waters near the Chinese islands and reefs in the South China Sea.
When it comes to the overall assessment of the China-US relationship, the MND spokesperson said that “we should consider not only each other’s immediate interests but also our common interests in the long run. We should not only resort to practical steps to address specific issues, but also a broad vision to put in mind a bigger picture. And we should not only be aware of the potential risks and dangers ahead when things go smoothly, but also be able to see the light of hope when we find ourselves in difficulties.”