China and Russia are now conducting joint military drills in the Baltic Sea. The drills, code-named “Joint Sea 2017,” kicked off on Saturday and will last until July 28.
The Chinese fleet sailed from a port in south China’s Hainan Province on June 18, and arrived at Russia’s Baltiysk naval base in Kaliningrad on Friday. The fleet passed through both the Indian and Atlantic Oceans to reach the Baltic Sea. It also passed through other famous water passages including the Strait of Malacca, the Suez Canal, the Strait of Gibraltar and the English Channel.
This series of joint drills between China and Russia began in 2012. It’s an annual event taking place in waters near the two nations. This year’s drill aims to jointly carry out rescue missions and protect the safety of economic activities at sea.
The Chinese fleet consists of one destroyer, one frigate, one supply ship, ship-borne helicopters and marines. The Russian side includes one frigate, fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters and marines. The Chinese and Russian navies will conduct a variety of joint exercises and attend the parade in St. Petersburg on the occasion of Russia’s Navy Day.
China and Russia have maintained good relations and expanded strategic military cooperation in the past few years.
In April 2012, China and Russia held the naval exercises near the Yellow Sea off China’s eastern Shandong Province. The drills included joint air defense, maritime replenishment, joint anti-submarine drills, and joint search and rescues.
The following year, the two countries held the military exercises in the Sea of Japan. This time, the Chinese navy sent its largest vessel task force overseas for joint exercises far from its naval base and without a support system.
In 2014, the joint drills were carried out in the Mediterranean Sea. In 2015, the China-Russia naval joint drills were held twice. One was off the Black Sea, and the other near Russia’s eastern coast. Last year, the two countries held the drills in the South China Sea. (cgtn)