China, Russia mark end of naval drill in disputed Sea
Iran Press TV
Mon Sep 19, 2016 10:22AM
Chinese and Russian naval forces have staged an island-seizing mission as part of a joint annual drill in the disputed South China Sea.
The navies of both countries conducted the mission in the sea off southern China's Guangdong province as part of the China-Russia Joint Sea 2016 drill, the CCTV television reported on Monday.
They carried out the mission under a background of actual combat in which warships, marine forces, helicopters and armored equipment were dispatched to the theater of the operations.
Officials said the latest mission marked the end of the drill, which started on Sept 12.
Ten Chinese ships, including destroyers, frigates, landing ships, supply ships and submarines, were involved in the war games along with 11 fixed-wing aircraft, eight helicopters and 160 marines.
Russia's several large anti-submarine ships also took part in the exercise.
A lieutenant captain with the Russian navy's marine force said the exercise had promoted mutual understanding between the two veto-wielding members of the United Nations Security Council.
Rear Admiral Yu Manjiang, commander of China's navy, 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 the drill does not target a third party.
Last year, the two countries held joint military drills in the Sea of Japan and the Mediterranean, but this was the first time they held drills in the disputed sea.
Beijing claims almost all of the South China Sea, which is also contested in part by Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines. The waters are believed to be rich in oil and gas.
Earlier in July, the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that China's claims to sovereignty over the disputed areas in the sea or its resources "had no legal basis" in a case brought by the Philippines.
China, however, rejected the verdict, arguing that the tribunal has no jurisdiction over the issue.
The sea has so far become a source of tensions between China, the US, and some other regional countries, which are seeking control of trade routes and mineral deposits there.
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