BEIJING (RFE/RL) — China’s Defense Minister Chang Wanquan and his visiting Armenian counterpart Vigen Sargsyan reportedly agreed to deepen military ties between their countries when they met in Beijing on Monday, September 4.
“The sides concurred that it is necessary to step up efforts to deepen Chinese-Armenian cooperation in the area of defense, especially given the existence of potential for that,” the Armenian Defense Ministry said in a statement on their talks. “They reached an agreement to intensify mutual contacts.”
The two ministers signed after the talks an agreement on the release of 10 million yuans ($1.5 million) in fresh Chinese military aid to Armenia.
Earlier in the day, Sargsyan visited the Beijing headquarters of the China Poly Group, a state-owned business conglomerate engaged, among other things, in exports of Chinese-made weapons. The Defense Ministry said he and top Poly Group executives “expressed readiness to continue active discussions on prospects for mutually beneficial bilateral defense cooperation.” No details were reported.
Chinese-Armenian military ties appear to have already deepened in the last several years. A top Chinese military official, Rear Admiral Guan Youfei, visited Yerevan in April for talks with Sargsyan as well as the chief of the Armenian army staff, Lieutenant General Movses Hakobian, and Deputy Defense Minister Davit Pakhchanian.
“Agreements were reached on expanding cooperation and implementing a number of mutually beneficial projects in the area of defense,” the Armenian Defense Ministry said at the time.