Chinese, Russian navies wrap up drills in South China Sea
The Chinese and Russian navies staged a mission to seize an island on Sunday as part of an eight-day exercise in the South China Sea.
As the key element of the annual drill, the navies dispatched warships, marine forces, helicopters and amphibious armored equipment for the mission.
The exercise demonstrated the Chinese and Russian navies’ capacities in command management, telecommunications coordination, and intelligence and information sharing, said Senior Captain Li Xiangdong, who commanded the Chinese warships.
The mission marked the end of the China-Russia Joint Sea 2016 drill, which started on Sept 12 in eastern waters off Zhanjiang, the southernmost city in Guangdong province and the base of the Nanhai Fleet. A closing ceremony was to be held on Monday.
Compared with previous years, the 2016 drill focused more on confrontational capacity such as surface warships, submarines and landbased defenses, Li said, adding that the use of an advanced command system made communication between the two navies smoother.
It was also the first time the China-Russia joint exercise had been held in the South China Sea.
Rear Admiral Yu Manjiang, vice-commander of the Nanhai Fleet and commander of the joint exercise, said the sea was a natural choice for the drill as the two countries have already held exercises in China’s other waters.
“Some people and countries are pointing fingers at this ( joint drill), but this is not necessary at all,” he said, adding that it is an annual drill that does not target a third party.
A. Maxim, a lieutenant captain with the Russian navy’s marine force, said the exercise had promoted mutual understanding between the two navies.
Ten Chinese ships — destroyers, frigates, landing ships, supply ships and submarines — took part in the drill as well as 11 fixed-wing aircraft, eight helicopters and 160 marines.
Also involved were Russia’s large anti-submarine ships Admiral Tributs and Admiral Vinogradov, the large amphibious ship Peresvet, the sea towboat Alatau and the tanker Pechenga.
Captain Sun Hao, who was in charge of the island-seizing mission, said the marine forces of both sides could understand each other despite the language barrier.
“I noticed that during the exercise that soldiers from the two countries could communicate with body language, simple English and even eye contact,” he said.
Roman Kosarev, a journalist for Russia Today who covered the drill, agreed with Sun and added: “Increasingly, language has not been a problem.”
The Chinese and Russian navies stage a mission to seize an island on Sunday, marking the end of the two countries’ joint drill this year.