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People's Daily Online

Joint China-Russia naval maneuvers not aimed at anyone, expert says

People's Daily Online

By Fang Tian (People's Daily Online) 14:53, July 21, 2017

The military exercise held by China and Russia in the Baltic Sea from July 21 to 28 does not target at any third party, a military expert told Global Times after groundless accusations by the West concerning the drill.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) also paid more attention to the drill to be held in Europe's "hinterland."

According to the schedule, the joint military exercises would involve 10 warships, more than 10 fighter jets and helicopters, with the objective to improve their research-and-rescue capability and strengthen the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination between the two countries.

Three Chinese warships and Russia's flagships will take turns to hold the maneuvers so as to improve the two naval forces during exercises, military expert, Li Jie told Global Times.

According to an anonymous source, the Baltic Sea has been a hotspot since some Baltic countries joined NATO and shrank Russia's strategic space. However, the joint China-Russia drill is just a regular activity held every other year and is not aimed at any third party or current situations.

The drill aims to develop China's and Russia's comprehensive strategic partnership, deepen friendly and pragmatic cooperation between the two armed forces and improve capability to jointly cope with threats to maritime security by ensuring joint rescue and joint protection of maritime economic activities, China's Ministry of National Defense said previously.

An observer noted that NATO was friendly to China when the participating fleets passed the North Sea, judging from the message released by NATO's Maritime Command. China's use of the North Sea area is lawful and reasonable. NATO probably feels defensive in the face of the joint maneuvers and certainly wishes China-Russia cooperation weakened, the observer said.

China is open to military exchanges with other countries, Li said. China hopes the US will maintain a more open mind during the 2018 Rim of Pacific naval drill, said Shen Jinlong, China's naval chief when meeting with Scott Swift, commander of the United States Pacific Fleet.

The forthcoming overseas joint military exercises will the farthest from China for the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, the anonymous person told Global Times. "It's not only a test of capability for the PLA Navy, but also an embodiment of confidence and power."

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