China / Politics

It's anchors aweigh in South China Sea

By An Baijie (China Daily) Updated: 2016-09-13 07:08

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It's anchors aweigh in South China Sea

Deputy Commander of the Chinese Navy Wang Hai and his Russian counterpart Aleksandr Fedotenkov walk on Monday to greet a group of five Russian ships arriving for eight days of joint drills in the waters off Zhanjiang, Guangdong province. The two navies expect to further improve their abilities for joint operations with these fifth annual exercises. LI JIN/CHINA DAILY

Chinese, Russian navies begin drills to fine-tune joint military operations

The China-Russia navy drill, taking place for the first time in the South China Sea, is expected to improve their combined ability to counter "common security threats", a senior Chinese Navy officer said on Monday.

Wang Hai, deputy commander of the Chinese Navy and director of the drill for China, made the remarks at a ceremony on the arrival of five Russian ships in Zhanjiang, Guangdong province.

Both countries' navies are expected to improve their cooperation, learn from each other, deepen friendship, and advance the bilateral ties during the eight-day exercise, he said.

The Joint Sea-2016 drill is being held in the eastern waters off Zhanjiang, Guangdong's southernmost city, where the Chinese Navy's Nanhai Fleet is headquartered.

Wang said this is the fifth annual joint naval exercise between China and Russia. China has also taken part in Russia's international military competition for two consecutive years, and the two countries' forces have improved their abilities in joint military operations, he said.

Vice-Admiral Aleksandr Fedotenkov, the Russian Navy's deputy commander-in-chief and director of the drill for Russia, said that with the advances they have made through naval exercises, the two navies are able to jointly cope with maritime threats. The Russian Navy has three surface ships, two supply ships, two helicopters, 96 marines and amphibious armored equipment participating in the drill.

Ten Chinese Navy ships-destroyers, frigates, landing ships, supply ships and submarines-are participating in the drill, as well as 11 fixed-wing aircraft, eight helicopters, 160 marines and amphibious armored equipment.

On Monday afternoon, both sides' sailors engaged in various exchanges, such as boarding each other's ships and exhibiting combat weapons.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Monday that the strategic ties between China and Russia are "self-evident".

"It proves that China-Russia cooperation is a positive factor to maintain regional peace and stability," she told a regular news conference, adding that the strategic cooperation has benefited not only the people of both countries, but also the whole world.

Zhang Junshe, a senior researcher at the People's Liberation Army's Naval Military Studies Research Institute, said that the China-Russia joint exercise is a mark of the high political trust between the two countries.


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