Russia and China launch joint Pacific patrol (VIDEO)
Five Russian and four Chinese warships began a joint patrol mission in the Pacific Ocean on Friday, Moscow has announced. It is the third such operation carried out by the navies of the two countries, which have intensified military cooperation in recent years.
The vessels departed from the port of Vladivostok in Russia’s Far East on a pre-agreed route, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
The goals of the mission are “to strengthen naval cooperation between Russia and China, maintain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, monitor the sea area, and protect the facilities of maritime economic activity” of the two countries, the statement read.
During the patrol, Russian and Chinese sailors will work on organizing defensive measures, replenishing water and fuel on the move, and carrying out anti-submarine activities, the ministry said.
Russian and Chinese helicopters will conduct missions which will involve them landing on vessels belonging to the other country, it added.
The ships will also interact with aviation from the Russian Pacific Fleet and China’s People’s Liberation Army, according to Moscow.
On Wednesday, the Chinese Defense Ministry confirmed the joint drill and noted that it “doesn’t target any third party, and has nothing to do with the current international and regional situation.”
Earlier in July, the navies of the two countries took part in the ‘Northern/Interaction-2023’ wargames in the Sea of Japan. The drills involved 20 combat exercises, including joint artillery firing at seaborne, coastal, and air targets.
Economic and military ties between Moscow and Beijing have intensified since Russia launched its operation in Ukraine in February 2022. According to the US National Defense University, the two countries held six drills together last year, a number unprecedented in the past two decades.
The head of the Russian Navy, Nikolay Evmenov, stated during a visit to China in early June that Moscow attached “great importance” to boosting military cooperation with Beijing. Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu expressed confidence that the two countries “will strengthen communication at all levels, and regularly organize joint exercises.”