Russian and Chinese navies will conduct joint exercises in the coming days to strengthen cooperation between the two nations, Russia’s defense ministry said Monday, according to media reports.
A naval contingent deployed from the base in Vladivostok on Monday to participate in the combined drills with Chinese warships from Dec. 21 to Dec. 27, Moscow said Monday, according to The Wall Street Journal. The drills are the latest in an annual series of joint exercises since 2012, but they underscore increasing worries in the West of military cooperation between two major U.S. adversaries.
“The main purpose of the exercises is to strengthen naval cooperation between Russia and China, and maintain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region,” the defense ministry said, according to Reuters. (RELATED: Japan Reverses Course, Announces Largest Military Buildup Since WWII Amid Rising China Threat)
The drills will involve submarine maneuvers and firing artillery at targets in the East China Sea, where Russian and Chinese bombers conducted joint operations in May ahead of President Joe Biden’s visit to Tokyo, according to Reuters. Four Russian warships and six Chinese vessels will take part, along with fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.
Chinese authorities have not made a public statement about the drills, according to the WSJ.
The two countries last conducted large-scale military exercises in August, marking the first time China has deployed forces from three military branches to participate in a single series of drills with Russia.
China and Russia agreed to a “no limits” partnership aimed at hedging out America’s global influence in February, days before Russia launched its invasion into Ukraine, Reuters reported. While Beijing has criticized the West’s sanctions regime against Russia, it has avoided decisive language exposing its attitude toward Moscow’s war and stopped short of providing overt military support.
Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed Chinese General Secretary Xi Jinping had expressed some concerns about Russia’s war in Ukraine in September, opening a window into the two countries’ relationship, Reuters reported. Putin said he appreciated China’s “balanced” position toward the war.
However, Xi has issued instructions centered around developing stronger economic ties with Russia in recent weeks, the WSJ reported, citing policy advisers in Beijing, and Russia has supported China’s position toward Taiwan.
“Cooperation between our countries is developing dynamically in all areas. I believe that the report by the General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Xi Jinping opens up new prospects here, which will undoubtedly be implemented,” Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko said in October, according to Russian state-run media agency TASS.
The partnership between the two countries has lawmakers in the U.S. worried; Congress’ latest bill directs the intelligence community to research and report on China’s military support for Russia.
I don’t believe Russia could be weakened in the long term given its landmass, rich resources and talented people. A weakened Russia would be a bad news for the region and the world. So don’t gloat!
— Chen Weihua （陈卫华） (@chenweihua) December 19, 2022
Russian President Vladimir Putin landed in Belarus on Monday for a meeting with President Alexander Lukashenko, and could use the meeting to apply pressure on Belarus to enhance cooperation with Russia, the WSJ reported.
The Russian and Chinese foreign ministries did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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