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China, Russia embrace militarily

March 25, 2013 at 10:05 AM

MOSCOW, March 25 (UPI) -- The Chinese government aims to shore up military and political ties with Russia, Chinese President Xi Jinping said.

Xi is on a three-day visit to Moscow, his first since assuming office this month. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu met with Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan as part of a growing military relationship.

"My visit to the Russian Defense Ministry is intended to confirm that military, political and strategic relations between the two countries will strengthen as will cooperation between the Armed Forces of China and Russia," Xi was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying.

China last year purchased $2.1 billion in military equipment from Russia, down from the $4 billion in peak trading in 2005.

Both countries have expressed concern about U.S. missile defense plans in Eastern Europe. The U.S. Defense Department shifted missile defense plans to the U.S. West Coast in response to a growing North Korean threat.

The U.S. military is retooling its defensive posture now that the Iraq war is over and the Afghan campaign is winding down. U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said last year the Asia-Pacific region was "one of the most prominent and important" issues for the Pentagon.

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