Britain's Shapps says stronger China-Russia ties threaten democracy

Britain's Defence Secretary Grant Shapps gives a speech at Lancaster House in London

LONDON (Reuters) - British defence minister Grant Shapps said on Sunday he was very concerned about a recent strengthening of diplomatic relations between China's Xi Jinping and Russia's Vladimir Putin, saying it posed a threat to democracy.

"I'm extremely concerned about this because, remember, these are two countries that do not believe in democracy," Shapps told Sky News.

"If you have that situation, and they are trying to spread their system to the rest of the world, we must see and have our eyes wide open that that is a direct threat to our way of life," he said.

On Thursday, the Russian and Chinese leaders pledged a "new era" of partnership between the two most powerful rivals of the United States.

(Reporting by William James; Editing by Bernadette Baum)