Russia and China are preparing for joint sea naval drills this weekend (Sept. 9-11).
The military exercises between the two countries are somewhat routine – there have been five since 2012.
However, this time will be the first joint exercises between these particular allies conducted in the fiercely disputed South China Sea.
In fact, they’re the first multiparty drills between any countries in the controversial maritime region since The Hague ruled overwhelmingly against China on July 12 in a case brought by the Philippines.
One can’t help but wonder if this weekend’s scheduled drills between China and Russia are actually intended to “send a message” to their adversaries – namely NATO.
Russia and China’s Aggressive New Alliance
“Over the last few years, China and Russia have become much chummier from a military standpoint,” Patalon said. “They view the U.S. and NATO as a common enemy and are concerned about the same threats. So it makes sense that they’d view themselves as kindred spirits from a military standpoint.”
“Japan says that it’s seeing more ‘incursions’ of its air space by China and Russia than at any time in the last 50 years,” he said, citing The Japan Times.
For example, Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force scrambled fighters 873 times in the fiscal year that ended in March — including 571 times against China and 288 against Russia.
“That’s a big jump from the 464 ‘sorties’ recorded the year before,” Patalon noted.
Japan’s Response to Russia and China Threat
“Since its defeat in World War II, Japan has been very careful to position its military for home defense – it’s even known as the ‘Japan Self-Defense Forces,’ or JSDF,” Patalon said.
But, he noted, the South China Sea mess, issues on the nearby Korean Peninsula, and Japan’s key role in America’s Asia-Pacific security strategy are all combining to shift the Japanese government’s view of its military…
“[Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo] Abe recently approved a record $41.4 billion defense budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year – the fourth-straight military budget increase since [he] took office in December 2012.”
Full article: Russia and China Taunt NATO with Show of Friendship in the South China Sea (MoneyMorning)