Russia’s minister of defense on Monday blamed the United States of fueling tensions across the globe, claiming that the West’s “steady escalation” threatens a military conflict between nuclear powers.
Sergei Shoigu delivered remarks at a defense forum in Beijing, an annual event that China uses to promote military diplomacy and is attended by representatives from dozens of countries, including the U.S.
“Washington for years has deliberately undermined and destroyed the foundations of international security and strategic stability, including the system of arms control agreements,” Shoigu said at the Xiangshan Forum.
Shoigu said that the U.S. and its Western allies are threatening Russia through NATO trying to expand its footprint in the Asia-Pacific under the pretense of seeking dialogue and collaboration with regional countries.
“The Western line of steady escalation of the conflict with Russia carries the threat of a direct military clash between nuclear powers, which is fraught with catastrophic consequences,” Shoigu said.
Moscow, however, remained open to negotiations about the war in Ukraine if the conditions were right, Shoigu said, without elaborating.
Shoigu’s speech followed that of Zhang Youxia, China’s second-ranking military official and vice chairman of the Central Military Commission.
Without directly naming the U.S., Zhang criticized “certain countries” that “keep stirring up troubles around the world.”
The U.S. is represented at the event by a delegation led by Cynthia Carras, the Defense Department’s leading official on China.
Zhang said China was “willing to develop military ties with the U.S. on the basis of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation.”
China suspended military communication with the U.S. in August 2022 to show its displeasure over a visit by former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to self-ruled Taiwan, which Beijing considers part of its territory.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.