BEIJING, CHINA — Chinese defense authorities announced on Sunday that Chinese naval vessels have set sail to participate in joint maneuvers with the Russian military, deepening military cooperation between the two countries.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, Moscow and Beijing have forged stronger ties, with China refraining from condemning Russia’s actions.
In recent months, the two nations have intensified their defense contacts, conducting joint military drills as part of their collaborative efforts, reports the Moscow Times.
The upcoming air-and-sea exercises are scheduled to take place in the Sea of Japan, with the primary objective of “safeguarding strategic maritime routes,” as stated by the Chinese Ministry of Defense on Saturday.
According to a statement released on Sunday, the Chinese military has dispatched five warships, including a guided-missile destroyer, for the joint drills. However, specific details regarding the timing of the exercises were not provided.
In a show of solidarity, China and Russia conducted a joint air patrol over the Seas of Japan and East China last month, a move that prompted South Korea to deploy fighter jets as a precautionary measure. This marked the sixth such joint patrol in the region since 2019.
— Daryo | Central Asia & Afghanistan (@DaryoEng) July 17, 2023
China’s defense minister, Li Shangfu, recently expressed his support for enhancing naval cooperation with Russia.
As the conflict in Ukraine unfolded, Beijing emerged as Moscow’s most significant ally. Although China claims to be a neutral party in the dispute, its refusal to condemn Russia’s invasion has led to accusations from Ukraine’s allies that it is displaying favoritism toward Russia.
Copyright © 2023 The Eastern Herald.