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Chinese officials separately met with US, Russian counterparts at Western Pacific Naval Symposium

by Kateryna Hodunova April 25, 2024 5:50 PM 2 min read
Photo for illustrative purposes: China's President Xi Jinping is welcomed by his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin (R) during the opening ceremony of "The Year of Chinese Tourism in Russia" in Moscow, on March 22, 2013. (Photo by Sergei Ilnitsky/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
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Senior Chinese military officials separately met U.S. and Russian naval counterparts at the Western Pacific Naval Symposium in Qingdao, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesperson Wu Qian said during a press briefing on April 25.

The 19th Western Pacific Naval Symposium began on April 22, gathering over 180 navy representatives from 29 countries. The topic of this year's biennial meeting is "Oceans with a Shared Future." This is the second time China has hosted the event since 2014.

Wu told the media that China's naval commander Hu Zhongming and political commissar Yuan Huazhi "exchanged  views" with U.S. Pacific Fleet Chief Stephen Koehler and Russia's naval commander Alexander Moiseyev.

The spokesperson said that the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLA) is "ready to work with all the countries" on the path of building a maritime community "with a shared future."

During the symposium, Hu and Yuan also held meetings with naval counterparts from France, Chile, and Cambodia, as well as with officials from Australia, the U.K., India, and Japan in light of rising tension in the region.

Wu also said that Chinese Defense Minister Dong Jun held a call with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on April 16, which happened for the first time in more than a year.

The parties discussed China-U.S. state-to-state and military-to-military relations, the Taiwan question, and the South China Sea issue, among other issues of common interest.

"This call is an important step by the two militaries in implementing the consensus reached by the two heads of state and bears positive significance in maintaining the overall stability of bilateral military ties," Wu said during the briefing.

China officially declares itself a neutral party to Russia's full-scale war in Ukraine, but Washington has continued to sound the alarm on Beijing's support of Moscow's defense-industrial expansion efforts.

Beijing previously reacted to the criticism of its partnership with Moscow, claiming that both countries have a right to carry out "normal cooperation."

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