China's defense chief says Moscow trip is a signal to US

China's new defense minister says he is visiting Russia to send the United States a message about the increasingly close ties between Moscow and Beijing.

Gen. Wei Fenghe said Tuesday that he chose Russia for his first trip abroad since becoming the international face of China's military last month to "show the world a high level of development of our bilateral relations and firm determination of our armed forces to strengthen strategic cooperation."

Speaking at the start of his talks with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Wei added that he would attend a security conference hosted by the Russian Defense Ministry to "let the Americans know about the close ties between the armed forces of China and Russia."

Russia and China have conducted joint military maneuvers as part of their strengthened ties.