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Military

Iran Press TV

China, Russia to stage joint naval drills in Mediterranean

Iran Press TV

Thu Apr 30, 2015 1:36PM

The navies of Russia and China are planning to hold their first-ever joint naval drills in the Mediterranean Sea within weeks, military sources in China say.

China's military spokesman, Geng Yansheng, said at a monthly briefing in Beijing on Thursday that exercises will be held in mid-May in the Mediterranean Sea.

He added that the main purpose of the drills was to protect the safety of navigation in 'far seas.'

Yansheng noted that the exercises are aimed at promoting 'pragmatic cooperation between the two sides' and improving 'the capability of the two navies to jointly deal with maritime threats.'

The spokesman insisted that the drills would not target any third party, saying, 'What needs to be stressed is that this joint exercise is not targeting any third party…."

A group of nine vessels from the two countries will take part in the maneuvers. The Chinese ships involved in the drills are currently participating in international anti-piracy escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and off the Somali coast.

The Chinese and Russian armies have increased their military training operation in recent years. Chinese President Xi Jinping plans to attend commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Moscow on May 9.

The development also comes as Moscow is seeking to diversify its markets amid US-led Western sanctions over the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

China and Russia have been holding naval drills in Pacific waters since 2012 as the United States moved to step up military cooperation with its regional allies and meddle in Chinese internal affairs.

Beijing has frequently warned the United States to be cautious in its words and deeds with regard to territorial disputes involving China and its neighbors.

JR/KA/SS



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