Grow­ing co­op­er­a­tion

Chi­nese, Rus­sian navies be­gin drills to fine-tune joint mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By AN BAIJIE in Zhan­jiang, Guang­dong an­bai­jie@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China and Rus­sia launch 8-day joint naval ex­er­cise

The China-Rus­sia navy drill, tak­ing place for the first time in the South China Sea, is ex­pected to im­prove their com­bined abil­ity to counter “com­mon se­cu­rity threats”, a se­nior Chi­nese Navy of­fi­cer said on Mon­day.

Wang Hai, deputy com­man­der of the Chi­nese Navy and direc­tor of the drill for China, made the re­marks at a cer­e­mony on the ar­rival of five Rus­sian ships in Zhan­jiang, Guang­dong province.

Both coun­tries’ navies are ex­pected to im­prove their co­op­er­a­tion, learn from each other, deepen friend­ship, and ad­vance the bi­lat­eral ties dur­ing the eight-day ex­er­cise, he said.

The Joint Sea-2016 drill is be­ing held in the eastern wa­ters off Zhan­jiang, Guang­dong’s south­ern­most city, where the Chi­nese Navy’s Nan­hai Fleet is head­quar­tered.

Wang said this is the fifth an­nual joint naval ex­er­cise be­tween China and Rus­sia. China has also taken part in Rus­sia’s in­ter­na­tional mil­i­tary com­pe­ti­tion for two con­sec­u­tive years, and the two coun­tries’ forces have im­proved their abil­i­ties in joint mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions, he said.

Vice-Ad­mi­ral Alek­sandr Fe­dotenkov, the Rus­sian Navy’s deputy com­man­der-inchief and direc­tor of the drill for Rus­sia, said that with the ad­vances they have made through naval ex­er­cises, the two navies are able to jointly cope with mar­itime threats.

The Rus­sian Navy has three sur­face ships, two sup­ply ships, two heli­copters, 96 marines and am­phibi­ous ar­mored equip­ment par­tic­i­pat­ing in the drill.

Ten Chi­nese Navy ships — de­stroy­ers, frigates, land­ing ships, sup­ply ships and sub­marines— are par­tic­i­pat­ing in the drill, as well as 11 fixed­wing air­craft, eight heli­copters, 160 marines and am­phibi­ous ar­mored equip­ment.

On Mon­day af­ter­noon, both sides’ sailors en­gaged in var­i­ous ex­changes, such as board­ing each other’s ships and ex­hibit­ing com­bat weapons.

For­eign Min­istry spokes woman Hua Chun­y­ing said on Mon­day that the strate­gic ties be­tween China and Rus­sia are “self-ev­i­dent”.

“It proves that China-Rus­sia co­op­er­a­tion is a pos­i­tive factor to main­tain re­gional peace and sta­bil­ity,” she told a reg­u­lar news con­fer­ence, adding that the strate­gic co­op­er­a­tion has ben­e­fited not only the peo­ple of both coun­tries, but also the whole world.

Zhang Jun­she, a se­nior re­searcher at the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army’s Naval Mil­i­tary Stud­ies Re­search In­sti­tute, said that the China-Rus­sia joint ex­er­cise is a mark of the high po­lit­i­cal trust be­tween the two coun­tries.

LI JIN / FOR CHINA DAILY

Deputy Com­man­der of the Chi­nese Navy Wang Hai and his Rus­sian coun­ter­part Alek­sandr Fe­dotenkov walk on Mon­day to greet a group of five Rus­sian ships ar­riv­ing for eight days of joint drills in the wa­ters off Zhan­jiang, Guang­dong province. The two navies ex­pect to fur­ther im­prove their abil­i­ties for joint op­er­a­tions with these fifth an­nual ex­er­cises.

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