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Shoigu to Visit China on First Trip as Defense Minister

ReutersA guard eating lunch near Russian Su-27 fighter jets at an air show in the Chinese city of Zhuhai on Monday.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who was appointed last week amid a corruption scandal at the Defense Ministry, will travel to China next week on his first foreign trip in his new post.

Shoigu will attend the 17th Russian-Chinese intergovernmental commission on military and technological cooperation in Beijing on Nov. 20 and 21, his spokeswoman Irina Kovalchuk said Monday.

"Shoigu's visit to China demonstrates continuity with the Defense Ministry's course for further developing military cooperation with Beijing," Kovalchuk told Interfax.

This meeting is meant to sum up the military and technological cooperation between the two countries over the past year and also set the agenda for 2013, the report said.

Last week saw a major reshuffle in the armed forces when President Vladimir Putin dismissed Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and replaced him with Shoigu, who had served as the governor of the Moscow region since May and, before that, as emergency situations minister for 18 years. Putin also replaced the head of the General Staff last week.

The shakeup came amid an investigation into corruption at a Defense Ministry-controlled military contractor, Oboronservice, and Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said Serdyukov's departure would facilitate the inquiry.

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