Moscow announces naval maneuvers with Beijing in the East China Sea

Posted Dec 19 2022 at 02:02 PMUpdated Dec 19. 2022 at 15:58

It is a new demonstration of the military rapprochement between Moscow and Beijing. The navies of the two countries will, for the third time officially, participate in joint military maneuvers. The Russian Ministry of Defense announced on Monday that several of its warships, belonging to the Pacific fleet, had set out to take part, starting this week, in exercises with the Chinese navy.

In its statement, the ministry said that these maneuvers will take place from December 21 to 27 in the East China Sea. On this occasion, the two navies will carry out joint missile, artillery and anti-submarine warfare exercises.

“The main objective of the exercises is to strengthen naval cooperation between Russia and China, to maintain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region,” explains Moscow again in its press release . In detail, the Russian Navy will be represented by the flagship of its Pacific fleet, a missile cruiser, a frigate and two corvettes. On the Chinese side, two destroyers, two patrol boats, a supply ship and a submarine will be present. Airplanes and helicopters from both countries will also be involved in these maneuvers.

Three to four joint military exercises this year

It is not the first time this year that the Russian and Chinese military have trained together in this part of the world. It has even become a habit again since the invasion of Ukraine, Moscow and Beijing growing closer in the face of what they see as Western hegemonism even if China has been careful not to provide military support in this conflict.

Last May, the two navies and air forces launched joint maneuvers off Japan and South Korea. In September, the Chinese army took part in the “Vostok 2022” military exercises which also involved soldiers from India, Belarus and Syria. Finally, at the end of September, a US Coast Guard patrol reported spotting three Chinese navy ships sailing in formation with four Russian ships in the Bering Sea and in the US exclusive economic zone. It is impossible, however, to say whether these were indeed planned maneuvers.

Maneuvers that above all challenge Tokyo

This military proximity between Russia and China can only irritate Japan while the three countries have important historical disputes. Between Tokyo and Moscow, that of the Kuril Islands remains an open wound. And last spring, because of Japan’s participation in anti-Russian sanctions after the invasion of Ukraine, Russia had decided to break off negotiations aimed at settling the fate of this archipelago.

Things are not going much better between Beijing and Tokyo, while Chinese nationalism is always quick to revive the memory of the massacres committed by the Japanese army in 1937 in the city of Nanjing. Last August, during maneuvers following Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, several Chinese missiles fell, according to Tokyo, in Japan’s exclusive economic zone. What Beijing has always denied. And shortly after, during its participation in the maritime component of the “Vostok 2022” military exercises, the Chinese navy sent a flotilla led by its most powerful destroyer to the Sea of ​​Japan.

A behavior that has partly pushed Tokyo to decide on a reversal in its defense policy . The Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, indeed announced last Friday that he would orchestrate, over the next five years, the largest increase in military spending ever organized since 1945 in the country and that he was even going to equip his army with real counter-attack capabilities.

Moscow announces naval maneuvers with Beijing in the East China Sea