Sergei Shoigu and his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe have visited the Tsugol firing range in eastern Siberia where almost 300,000 Russian troops and about 3,200 Chinese troops are participating in joint exercises. Thirty-six thousand tanks, 80 ships, and nearly 1,000 aircraft are also taking part, according to the ministry. Mongolia also sent a small contingent.
Dubbed Vostok-2018, the war games involve hundreds of thousands of troops, armoured vehicles, tanks, drones and warships.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping were involved in talks at an economic forum in Vladivostok in Russia's far east yesterday. Relations between Russian Federation and the West declined sharply in 2014 with Moscow's annexation of Crimea and the subsequent conflict in eastern Ukraine.
At the event on Tuesday, Xi said that China and Russian Federation would work together to maintain stability and peace in the world.
- Vostok-2018 it includes 297,000 servicemen.
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She added: "China has growing military capabilities and is playing an increasingly significant global role".
Local media reports stated that close to 3,500 Chinese troops would be participating in Vostok 2018 that will have Russian President Vladimir Putin in attendance.
The Chinese media touted the Chinese involvement in the maneuvers as the country's largest-ever dispatch of forces overseas for war games.
The Kremlin has accused North Atlantic Treaty Organisation of expanding westwards and threatening Russian national security.
Experts said in reality neither China or Russian Federation believe the two are close to a full-fledged military alliance, but the joint drills nonetheless reflected how much more cooperative the two countries' relationship has become, after decades of suspicion during the Soviet period.
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"We have agreed to conduct such exercises on a regular basis", Shoigu said.
Russian Federation also staged a major naval exercise in the eastern Mediterranean this month and its jets resumed bombing the Syrian region of Idlib, the last major enclave of rebels fighting its ally President Bashar al-Assad.
Xi, whose country is locked in an escalating trade showdown with the United States, did not mention Washington but said an increasingly unpredictable geopolitical climate made partnership between Russian Federation and China even more important.
"We're obviously aware of it, we're watching it closely", said Army Col. Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesman.
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