Russia, China defense chiefs affirm further military cooperation

Defense ministers of Russia and China have expressed their intention to step up military cooperation in an apparent bid to counter Europe and the United States.

Sergei Shoigu and Dong Jun held talks on Friday on the sidelines of a regional security meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Kazakhstan's capital, Astana. The framework is led by Russia and China.

Russian officials quoted Shoigu as saying that Moscow and Beijing generally agreed "on the fundamental issues of the current world order and pressing international problems."

Dong reportedly said it is particularly important that the relations between the two armed forces maintain a high dynamic in a volatile international environment. He also stressed the importance of bilateral interaction.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he plans to visit China next month. He is expected to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that arrangements are underway for his trip.

Peskov said Russia and China are experiencing pressure from the West, but he said the two nations "stand steadily enough on their feet to withstand this pressure."