In international relations the equality of the rank is observed rigorously unless both sides agree on "upgrade". E.g. China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi met last time he was in Moscow not only with his same rank--Sergei Lavrov--but he was also invited to Kremlin and met Vladimir Putin. But this is normal. By far the more interesting "upgrade" is this:
Obviously, hailing "military cooperation" is a mandatory diplomatic dance and press-release fodder, but when defense minister of China meets President of Russia and not just his counter-part Sergei Shoigu, it is very clear that very large issues are being decided upon and we may even guess what those issues are.
Recall those two meetings in March, a four and a half hour conversation between Putin and Xi, and the next day meeting behind closed doors of Russian and Chinese groups heavily dominated by military and military-industrial complex people. Li Shangfu's visit is precisely about those two meetings, or, rather, practical continuation of those. Otherwise he wouldn't be meeting Russia's President. Moreover, Li Shangfu is in Moscow on invitation by Sergei Shoigu. China's MoD went on record prior to this visit:
Let me translate into layman's lingo. Morons in the US establishment media will immediately start speculating about China's weapons to Russia--why, none of those cretins will be able to explain--but this visit is exactly about opposite. As Pentagon "leaks" (quotation marks are deliberate) tell us, Washington faces a historic in its scale blow-back due to own economic, military and foreign relations incompetence, US "grand strategists" continue to follow the "plan" and being beaten into bloody pulp in 404, now will try to assault China. Yes, that's the plan, and yes--they are that stupid. China needs Russia's military assistance and I repeat my "hypothesis"--the question will be about transfer of some hyper-sonic weapons, most likely Kinzhal, and its integration into Chinese military structure.
This, plus natural further development of what has been demonstrated in 2018 at Vostok maneuvers when unified tactical level units of Russian and Chinese forces have been revealed--both on the ground and in the air. Per naval part, my guess will be that both Russian Navy and PLAN do train slightly more than just joint maneuvers and "man overboard" procedures, granted that joint maneuvering and comms are the starting point for any serious naval training. Putin, meeting Li Shangfu in Kremlin was a sign of blessing and a starting gun of whatever Russia and China agreed upon in March this year.
On a more peaceful note, to Orthodox faithful--Christ is risen. Христос Воскресе.
Happy Easter everyone.
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