Date
12 December 2017
Chinese sailors stand in formation at a Shanghai port in a welcoming ceremony Sunday for Russian naval vessels ahead of the ‘Joint Sea-2014’ naval drill. Photo: Reuters
Chinese sailors stand in formation at a Shanghai port in a welcoming ceremony Sunday for Russian naval vessels ahead of the ‘Joint Sea-2014’ naval drill. Photo: Reuters

China, Russia to kick off joint naval drill in East China Sea

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will on Tuesday flag off a joint naval drill in the East China Sea, in an exercise aimed at showcasing the military capabilities and cooperation between the two nations to deal with potential maritime security threats.

The drill, which will be conducted in a region outside the estuary of the Yangtze River on the sea, is scheduled to last seven days, Apple Daily reported. A total of 16 vessels and submarines, several fighter planes and special forces from both sides will participate in the exercise. China will send out eight vessels, two submarines and thirteen aircraft.

During the drill, the third of its kind, military personnel will, among things, carry out a mock rescue mission of crew on a Russian military ship purportedly seized by terrorists, according to Russian TV channel Zvezda. Six warships from Russia’s Pacific Fleet on Monday entered Shanghai’s Wusong naval port terminal.

Although some experts and analysts see the drill as part of efforts to contain the United States and Japan, Tian Zhong, deputy commander of the Chinese Navy and the Chinese director of the “Joint Sea-2014″ drill, said the purpose is to deepen strategic partnership between the militaries of China and Russia and to enhance their ability to jointly deal with maritime security threats.

Putin begins a two-day state visit to China Tuesday. Among other events today, he will participate in the ‘Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia’ being held in Shanghai.

Before leaving for China, the Russian leader had said that his visit is aimed at extending the scope of bilateral relationship with 40 project proposals, including joint development of civilian aircraft, heavy helicopters and cooperation in the fields of energy, aerospace and finance. He also said an agreement to export natural gas to China is ready.

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TL/AC/RC

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