MOSCOW, November 30. /TASS/. Russia is not concerned over China’s growing defense potential as it enjoys the highest level of relations with the country and is itself ramping up its armed forces, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a plenary session of the Russia Calling! investment forum sponsored by VTB Capital on Tuesday.
"Great Britain, France announce their plans to modernize their nuclear arsenals. Does the US suffer from that and does this cause its concern? No. So why do we have to show any concern over the growing defense potential of our nearest neighbor, with which we enjoy an unprecedentedly high level of inter-state relations? No, this does not frighten us because we are ourselves developing our potential," the Russian president said.
The growth of China’s military might is a natural process and that country has the right to build its policy in a way to ensure security for its large population, Putin pointed out, recalling that China was home to almost 1.5 billion people. "Perhaps, it has the right to build its defense policy in a way to ensure the security of that huge country. Who can deny it [China] this right? It is natural that the military might grows along with the rise in the economic potential. This is a natural process," the Russian leader pointed out.
The Russian president also said that he would not follow the interests of third countries in building relations with China.
"Yes, China’s might is growing, we see and everyone sees that, first of all, this relates to its economic might. But why should we follow third countries’ interests in building our policy? We have always followed and will follow the interests of solely the people of the Russian Federation, Russian interests," Putin stressed.
At the same time, Moscow respects the interests of international partners and appreciates a similar attitude to it, the Russian leader added. "China employs the same approach to us," Putin said.
The Russian president emphasized that Moscow was satisfied with the level of Russian-Chinese relations and was willing to develop them further. "We believe that they can be even closer and more substantive and yield a positive effect both for the people of China and the people of the Russian Federation," Putin said.
Russia and China hold regular joint military exercises and exchange delegations, the Russian leader said. "We understand what is going on. Relations are stable. Moreover, Russia-China relations are a major factor of stability in the world," Putin emphasized.