Moscow and Beijing recently conducted extensive naval drills in the Sea of Japan, aimed at strengthening cooperation and maintaining peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific Region. The joint exercise, named ‘North/Cooperation-2023,’ took place over a period of three days from July 20 to July 23. The Russian Pacific Fleet and the Chinese Navy collaborated in a multitude of activities, including joint firing drills, a simulated naval battle, and air defense training.
In a statement to journalists, the Russian Pacific Fleet’s press service reported that the exercise involved a dozen military ships, including two Russian anti-submarine war frigates, two Chinese destroyers, two Russian corvettes, and Chinese guard ships. These vessels were accompanied by several support vessels. Additionally, 30 aircraft from both nations participated in the drills, featuring various types such as anti-submarine planes, helicopters, interceptors, and other maritime aircraft. Overall, the naval groups from Russia and China engaged in approximately 20 combat exercises throughout the drills.
The primary objective of these exercises was to enhance naval cooperation between the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China. By conducting joint drills, the two countries aimed to foster stronger ties and ensure peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Russian Defense Ministry also released a short video showcasing the drills. The footage included Russian fighter jets, strategic Tu-95MS bombers, and battleships actively participating in the exercise. These drills occurred in preparation for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s upcoming visit to China in October. During a state visit to Moscow in March, Chinese President Xi Jinping extended an invitation to Putin, signifying the commitment to ushering in a “new era” of cooperation between their nations.
In March, Putin described the relationship between Russia and China as being superior to Cold War-era interstate alliances. Both countries agreed to regularly conduct joint maritime and air patrols, as well as joint exercises. They also aimed to strengthen military exchange and cooperation through bilateral mechanisms and enhance mutual trust between their armed forces. Xi emphasized that the close ties between Russia and China were a strategic choice based on their fundamental interests.
These naval drills serve as a further testament to the deepening partnership and growing military cooperation between Russia and China. As their leaders express a commitment to establishing a new era of collaboration, it is likely that we will witness more joint exercises and joint initiatives in the future. Such developments have significant implications for regional security and geopolitical dynamics in the Asia-Pacific region. The joint drills not only demonstrate the combined strength and capabilities of both countries but also signal their determination to maintain peace and stability in a crucial part of the world.