China and Russia Hold Joint Naval Manuevers


China-navySeven Chinese vessels are sailing towards Vladivostok to participate in joint naval maneuvers with Russia.  This will constitute the largest ever exercise between the two countries.

The Chinese Navy has sent four guided missile destroyers, two guided missile frigates, a supply ship, three ship-borne helicopters and a special operation detachment from the port of Qingdao in eastern China.

“This marks our navy’s single biggest deployment of military force in a China-foreign joint exercise,” the Chinese Defense Ministry said, as cited by AP.

The maneuvers will include a total of 20 ships, and 10 planes and helicopters, and will begin in Peter the Great Bay near the city of Vladivostok in Eastern Russia.

The exercises will involve liberating a ship seized by pirates, convoying and will conduct search-and-rescue operations, Roman Martov, a spokesman for Russia’s Pacific Fleet, told Itar-Tass on Tuesday. They will also practice organizing joint air defense, anti-submarine and anti-ship defense.

Fang Fenghui, chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), reported Xinhua, stressed that these are not to be considered ‘war exercise.’

The exercises are “meant to strengthen cooperation between the two armed forces in military training, enhance their capability in coordinating military operations, so that they can play a positive role in safeguarding regional security and stability,” Fang stated on Monday, during his visit to Moscow where he met with his Russian counterpart, Valery Gerasimov.

Fang and Gerasimov announced that the two powers will also hold joint anti-terrorism drills in Russia’s Ural Mountain region of Chelyabinsk from July 27th to August 15th.

China and Russia have frequently acted in joint drills under the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.  This will be only the second conducted outside the SCO.

The United States and Japan have recently completed training exercises named “Dawn Blitz.”  They were held off San Clemente Island, just north of San Diego.  They were planned in relation to Japan’s fears that China may attempt to annex the Senkaku Islands, a disputed territory between the two countries.  Beijing had formerly requested that the United States suspend the drills, but the request was denied.

Next year, the U. S. and China will take part in joint naval drills.  The event is the US-organized multinational “Rim of the Pacific” exercises.

As for now, both the United States and Japan will be interested in the joint maneuvers being conducted by China and Russia.

Alfred James reporting

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