14:18 GMT +326 May 2017
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    Russian and Chinese servicemen shake hands during the Russian-Chinese drill Naval Interaction-2015 at the Klerk testing grounds in Russia's Primorye Territory.

    Russia-China Military Cooperation 'Back to Good Old Days'

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    On Wednesday, Russia's Defense Minister praised Russia-China military cooperation, saying that the military contracts signed by the two countries have reached a record $3 billion. Russian military expert Vasily Kashin spoke to Sputnik on the issue, noting that the bilateral ties between the two have got back to the "good old days."

    On November 23, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that Russian-Chinese relations are currently at an unprecedentedly high level and continue to develop steadily. The comment came during a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Chang Wanquan in Beijing.

    The Russian minister visited China for the 21st meeting of an intergovernmental commission on military and technical cooperation between the two states.

    This year's $3 billion in military contracts signed between Russia and China represents a significant achievement, the Russian Defense Minister added.

    "We have serious achievements in the military and technical field. We have reached the level of about $3 billion annually to carry out a wide range of contracts," Shoigu said. "They are all in varying degrees implemented within the framework of mutually beneficial military and technical cooperation."

    Chinese authorities have also praised the military cooperation between Beijing and Moscow.

    Mitary personnel of the 154th Preobrazhensky Independent Commandant's Regiment during a military parade conducted to mark the 70th anniversary of China's victory in the Second Sino-Japanese War and the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II
    © Sputnik/ Anton Denisov
    Mitary personnel of the 154th Preobrazhensky Independent Commandant's Regiment during a military parade conducted to mark the 70th anniversary of China's victory in the Second Sino-Japanese War and the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II

    "Chinese-Russian relations are developing rapidly thanks to the personal efforts by the leaders of the two countries, and they are currently at a historically high," Vice Chairman of China’s Central Military Commission Xu Qiliang, said during a meeting with Sergei Shoigu on Wednesday.

    He also noted that 2016 marks "the 15th anniversary of the signing of the treaty on good-neighborliness, friendship and cooperation between China and Russia and the 20th anniversary of the Chinese-Russian relations of strategic cooperation and partnership."

    "These are two important milestone events in the history of the Chinese-Russian relationship," Xu Qiliang noted.

    Russian military expert Vasily Kashin has commented to Sputnik on the current stage in the military cooperation between the two countries.

    "Yearly volumes of Russia-China military-technical cooperation in face value has exceeded the record levels reached back in 1990s – beginning of 2000s," he told Sputnik.

    Amphibious tanks and Marine Corps soldiers rush to the beachhead in an amphibious landing drill during the third phase of the Sino-Russian joint military exercise, held in China's Shandong Peninsula (File)
    © REUTERS/ Xinhua, Li Gang
    Amphibious tanks and Marine Corps soldiers rush to the beachhead in an amphibious landing drill during the third phase of the Sino-Russian joint military exercise, held in China's Shandong Peninsula (File)

    Even adjusted for inflation, he said, Russian deliveries of military products and military services to China have got back to the "good old days."

    However, Russia's dependency on the Chinese arms market is lower than it was 15 years ago, while Russia-China military cooperation is a lot more diverse and deeper than before, the expert noted.

    Commenting on the figures voiced by Sergei Shoigu, Vasily Kashin said that actually the biggest year on record was 2002, when deals were made for $2.7 billion. In 2016 prices, adjusting for US dollar inflation, it would have been $3.6 billion, he said.

    Thus the yearly record of the "golden age" in Russia-China military cooperation, which lasted from 1992 to 2003, seems not to be beaten yet, however on the whole the cooperation has got back to the same level.

    There are certain differences however in terms of China's role in Russian arms export and the structure of the cooperation, the expert said.

    He further elaborated that back in the 1990-2000s, China was the major market for the Russian arms. In certain years its market share of Russian arms exports reached 50 per cent. Nowadays it is less than 20 per cent of Russian military exports.

    The expert also pointed out that in the past the Russian defense industry depended heavily on arms exports, however nowadays it is only the third source of its income after supplies to the Russian army and non-military production.

    The structure of military cooperation between the two countries has also changed, Kashin said. Large deliveries of end military products are not of the same importance as before, he said.

    He further suggested that the $3 billion figure might have already been reached before the start of the scheduled deliveries of Russia's S-400 air defense systems and SU-35 fighter aircraft to China under 2014 and 2015 contracts.

    If so, it means that the revealed figure has been reached by the contracts on deliveries of Russian engines and other high-technology components for Chinese arms systems and by Russian participation in the joint projects of development and production of Chinese arms systems within China.

    The above forms of cooperation have more advantages over deliveries on the pattern of the 1990s, he noted. It means a higher level of cooperation and mutual dependency between Russian and Chinese enterprises.

    It is a very good chance for manufacturing experts of the two countries to get to know each other better. And gives hope for further expansion of such cooperation and its extension into non-military braches of industry, he finally stated.

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    military-technical cooperation, military cooperation, Vasily Kashin, Sergei Shoigu, China, Russia
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