There were a number of interesting comments made by President Putin today regarding Russia's increasingly cozy relations with longtime rival China at the Valdai Discussion Club at Sochi on Thursday. “We are now helping our Chinese partners to create a missile-warning system, a missile-attack warning system,” Putin announced.
While slamming the recent US exit from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) as harming global stability, he added, “This is a very serious thing that will dramatically increase China’s defense capability, because only the U.S. and Russia have such a system now.”
Immediately after his comments, which further come on the heels China's elaborate military hardware-laden 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, Foreign Policy noted what's become increasingly apparent as both Beijing and Moscow find themselves in the US administration's cross hairs — with the latter grappling with the uncertain effects of Trump's trade war, and the former under various sanctions:
Most strikingly, Moscow is back in the picture, once again officially deemed to be Beijing’s best comrade-in-arms, in a throwback to the earliest years of the People’s Republic of China.
Though still in trial production, it's expected that China will be among the first nations to acquire Russia's S-500 anti-air missile system.
Putin also made reference to deepening economic cooperation with Beijing, going so far as to claim China stands ready to buy as much soybeans and wheat as Russia can produce.
Of course, there's no way Russia could even come close to filling the gap left by China's latest tariffs imposed on soybeans coming from the United States, which Putin acknowledged.
Soybean production statistics thanks to @kannbwx— SWITHUN STILL (@RussianGrainTra) October 3, 2019
“Russia's record crop of soybeans might barely cover 2 weeks of China's pre-ASF needs. And that's the entire crop.” @bentleystweet pic.twitter.com/Mxk5amxXpl
"They are ready to buy from us as much as we can produce but the issue is we are not ready for this now... not yet ready for such volumes," Putin said.
And more generally Putin made an unprecedented defense of China over and against those seeking to "restrain" Russia's powerful southeast neighbor.
"Regarding the attempts to restrain China: I think that by definition it is impossible. And if someone makes such attempts, he, the one who does it, will understand that it is impossible. And during those attempts, of course, will harm himself," Putin said at Valdai's plenary session.
"In any case, I consider such a development of events to be destructive and harmful, while joining efforts to create an environment of friendly cooperation and finding common security systems for all, is what we should work on together," the Russian president added.