Joint exercises between the Chinese and Russian navy in the East China Sea that begin this week will “further deepen” cooperation between Moscow and Beijing, China has announced.
The drills will be held off the coast of Zhejiang province south of Shanghai from Wednesday until next Tuesday, according to a brief notice posted by China’s Eastern Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army.
“This joint exercise is directed at demonstrating the determination and capability of the two sides to jointly respond to maritime security threats … and further deepen the China-Russia comprehensive new-era strategic partnership of coordination,” the notice said.
The Russian defence ministry said that ships involved in the joint drills included the Varyag missile cruiser, the Marshal Shaposhnikov destroyer, and two corvette-class ships of Russia’s Pacific Fleet.
The ministry said the Chinese navy planned to deploy several surface warships and a submarine for the exercise, and that military aircraft from both sides will take part.
China provided no immediate information on what units would be taking part in the exercise, which comes at a time when ties between Moscow and Beijing – while strained by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – have remained strong and China has provided political cover for Russia’s war on its neighbour amid international condemnation of Moscow’s aggression.
Russia has also more recently strongly backed China amid its tensions with the US over Taiwan.
Putting aside decades of mutual distrust, China and Russia have stepped up military exercises as part of their aligning of foreign policies in recent years to oppose the US-led liberal Western political order.