China to join Russia for largest naval drills with foreign partner

Exercises are intended to deepen co-operation between militaries, says Chinese army chief

China will join Russia later this week for its largest-ever naval drills with a foreign partner, underlining deepening ties between the former cold war rivals along with Beijing’s desire for closer links with regional militaries.

China’s defence ministry said on Tuesday that its navy would send four destroyers, two guided missile frigates and a support ship for the exercises, which start on Friday in the Sea of Japan and run until 12 July.

The ships departed on Monday from the port of Qingdao, where China’s Northern Fleet is based, and headed for the rallying point in Peter the Great Bay near Vladivostok.

This marks our navy’s single biggest deployment of military force in a China-foreign joint exercise,” the ministry said.

General Fang Fenghui, the People’s Liberation Army chief of the general staff, announced the exercises during a visit to Moscow, where he met his Russian counterpart, Valery Gerasimov. The two also announced that another round of anti-terrorism joint drills would be held in Russia’s Ural mountains from 27 July to 15 August.

China began deploying ships to the anti-piracy flotilla off the coast of Somalia in 2008 and in recent years its navy has joined in a series of joint drills in the Pacific and Indian oceans. Chinese land units have taken part in border security and anti-terrorism exercises organised by the six-nation Shanghai Co-operation Organisation.

Co-operation with the US navy, the predominant maritime force in the region, has been more limited, although China will take part next year in the US-organised multinational Rim of the Pacific exercises, the world’s largest maritime exercise.

Full article: China to join Russia for largest naval drills with foreign partner (The Guardian)

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