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Russian defence minister accuses the US of fuelling tensions to uphold its “hegemony.”

RUSSIAN Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said today the United States is fuelling geopolitical tensions to uphold its “hegemony” and warned of the risk of confrontation between major countries.

Speaking at a defence forum in Beijing, Mr Shoigu also said that the US and its Asia-Pacific allies are undermining stability in the region.

“To maintain its geopolitical and strategic dominance, the United States is deliberately undermining the basis of international security and strategic stability,” Mr Shoigu said at the Xiangshan Forum, China’s biggest annual event centred on military diplomacy.

He said that the US and its Western allies are threatening Russia through Nato’s “eastward expansion.”

Mr Shoigu said: “Western countries aim to escalate the conflict with Russia and increase the risk of major country confrontation.

“This will lead to serious consequences.”

Turning to Russia’s war in Ukraine, Mr Shoigu said that Moscow was open to negotiations “if conditions are right.”

The three-day event was opened by Zhang Youxia, China’s second-ranking military official and vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission.

Mr Zhang said China was “willing to develop military ties with the US on the basis of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win co-operation.”

Mr Zhang slammed “certain countries” that “keep stirring up troubles around the world.”

“They deliberately create turbulence, meddle in regional affairs, interfere in other countries’ internal affairs and instigate colour revolutions.”

He said that such countries “give fuel to the disputes by providing weapons and launching proxy wars” and “always unfairly support one side” in regional disputes, he said.

Mr Zhang called for “a political settlement on the Ukraine crisis” and “an immediate ceasefire and stop of violence by parties in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and an early resumption of peace talks.”

The defence minister said that China would not tolerate continued interference in the breakaway Chinese province of Taiwan, saying “no matter who tries to split Taiwan from China in any form, China and the Chinese military will never allow that to happen and will never be soft on them.”

China suspended military communication with the US in August 2022 in protest over a visit by former US House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan.

Military representatives from dozens of countries are attending the event, which is an occasion for Beijing to underscore military co-operation with other nations and project regional leadership.

The US is represented by a delegation led by Xanthi Carras, the relatively junior Defence Department’s official for issues related to China.

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