The new defence chief of China has shown aggression towards the US, saying the West should take heed of the country's military alliance with Russia.
China has made no secret of its intention to forge a formidable military coalition with Russia, at a time when the US’ relations with both countries is at its lowest ebb in some time.
Following a meeting with his counterpart in Moscow on Tuesday, China’s new defence chief, General Wei Fenghe, admitted he wanted his friendly dialogue with Sergey Shoigu to cause consternation within the Trump administration.
The point of the trip, according to Wei, was to “show Americans the close ties between the armed forces of China and Russia”.
“I am visiting Russia as a new defence minister of China to show the world a high level of development of our bilateral relations and firm determination of our armed forces to strengthen strategic cooperation,” he said.
“The Chinese side has come [to Moscow] to show Americans the close ties between the armed forces of China and Russia… we’ve come to support you.”
He added that Beijing is ready to express with Moscow “our common concerns and common position on important international problems at international venues as well”.
“To my memory, this is the 1st time in many years that a senior Chinese military leader says [something] like that publicly,” Alexander Gubev, a Senior Fellow and Chair of Russia in Asia-Pacific Program at Carnegie Moscow Center, tweeted on Wednesday.
The poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia led to America expelling 60 Russian diplomats and shutting down the Seattle consulate, and this has only heightened tensions since a raft of sanctions were imposed on Moscow in response to the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
US President Donald Trump has since angered China by introducing tariffs on the country’s steel and aluminium, and then threatening to hike a list of its exports to the value of $60 billion.
Is the United States’ military dominance under threat?
The States’ defence budget is already more than double the combined spend of China and Russia, and Trump recently requested it be raised to $716 billion from $587 billion.
However, both countries have expressed a willingness to enhance their capabilities.
President Vladimir Putin even showcased a range of potentially devastating new weapons recently, including a hypersonic warhead that he claims could evade the most advanced western missile defences.
The two allies have conducted joint naval drills in the last year, and share opposing views to the US on both Syria and North Korea.
And with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un engaging in positive talks with China’s President Xi Jinping last month, that further complicates foreign relations for Trump, who recently agreed to sit down with Kim himself.