Putin: Naval drill is not meant as start of military alliance
Russian President Vladimir Putin affirmed on Thursday that the ongoing Russia-China joint naval drill in the Baltic Sea is not meant to start a new military alliance.
The cooperation between China and Russia brings balance to the world, and it is not directed against anyone, said Putin. “We are not starting military blocs,” he said. The drill started last weekend in the Baltic Sea.
Putin spoke at a news conference in Punkaharju, a resort in Savonlinna, eastern Finland, which he was visiting for the centennial of Finnish independence.
Putin said Russia and China have strategic cooperation in economics, politics and military matters. He also expressed appreciation of the role of neutral countries along the Baltic. There are six NATO countries in the Baltic region, while Finland and Sweden are not affiliated with the military alliance.
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said, “This is not the first exercise between China and Russia,” adding that China’s naval forces have been in the Mediterranean before.
“Also, Finland takes part in exercises in the Baltic, such as upcoming Aurora with Sweden and the US,” said Niinisto. “Aurora is not intended to form blocs, either,” he said.
The China-Russia drill, named Joint Sea 2017, aims to carry out rescue missions and protect the safety of maritime economic activities, officials said. It is part of their annual
arrives in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Thursday to take part in the China-Russia naval drill named Joint Sea 2017. The drill is part of the two nations’ annual military cooperation program and coincides with Russia’s Navy Day celebrations.
military cooperation program.
The People’s Liberation Army Navy has sent a fleet of three vessels, helicopters and marines to take part. A second leg of the exercise will take place in the Sea of Japan and Okhotsk in September.
The two countries staged a joint drill in the South China Sea last year and similar exercises in the Mediterranean and the Peter the Great Gulf in the previous year.
Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said this week that the PLA has been strengthening military relationships with other countries and engaging in international affairs, such as peacekeeping and escort operations, “which represent the responsibility and positive image of the military from a major country”.
Missile destroyer Hefei