Russia and China begin joint naval exercises in the Sea of ​​Japan

The Chinese military squadron will join the Russian naval and air forces in the Sea of ​​Japan in joint exercises. The maneuvers are aimed at “ensuring the security of strategic sea routes,” Reuters reported, citing China’s defense ministry.

A Chinese squadron of five warships and four helicopters has left Qingdao port and will meet Russian forces in a “predetermined zone”, the ministry said on its official WeChat account on Sunday. According to military observers quoted by the state newspaper Global Times, this is the first time that Russian forces are participating in such exercises.

Loud and Perfect, the two Russian warships taking part in the exercise, previously held separate exercises with the Chinese fleet in Shanghai. Previously, ships had passed Taiwan and Japan, prompting Taipei and Tokyo to track their movements.

Days before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a “boundless” partnership that they say aims to counter US influence.

When Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu met with the head of the Russian Navy Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov in Beijing in July, both sides reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening military ties. Similar statements were made during a videoconference in June by the commander-in-chief of China’s Joint Headquarters, Liu Zhenli, and the chief of staff of the Russian armed forces, Valery Gerasimov.

China and Russia held six joint military exercises last year. This is the highest number in the past two decades, according to data compiled by the Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs at the US National Defense University. In 2019, out of five bilateral exercises, only two were held. Until 2016, Bloomberg explains, countries conducted bilateral exercises much less frequently.

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