China / Military

Naval exercise with Russia a regular drill: Chinese navy officer

By AN BAIJIE in Zhanjiang, Guangdong ( Updated: 2016-09-16 20:09

The ongoing China-Russia naval exercise in the South China Sea should not be taken out of context by other countries since it is a regular annual drill and does not target a third party, a senior Chinese navy officer said on Friday.

"Some people and countries are pointing fingers at this (joint drill), and I think they harbor malicious purpose with too much imagination, which is not necessary at all," said Rear Admiral Yu Manjiang, vice-commander of the Nanhai Fleet who is commanding the joint exercise.

It's natural that the drill takes place in the South China Sea because the two countries have already held joint exercise in other Chinese waters including the country's North Sea and East Sea region.

The drill, "Joint Sea-2016", is being held in the eastern waters of Zhanjiang, the southernmost city of Guangdong province, where the Nanhai Fleet under the People's Liberation Army Navy is headquartered.

The annual China-Russia joint naval exercise is the fifth of its kind between the two sides since 2012. Last year, the drill was conducted in two phases: in the Mediterranean in May and then in the Peter the Great Gulf, the waters off the Clerk Cape, and the Sea of Japan in late August.

The joint exercise has "significant political meanings and military value", which is going to deepen pragmatic cooperation between the two countries' military authorities, Yu said.

The joint drill completed its first phase of land training on Thursday and has entered the second phase of maritime operation.

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.

The Russia's big anti-submarine ships Admiral Tributs and Admiral Vinogradov, the big amphibious ship Peresvet, the sea towboat Alatau, and the tanker Pechenga are attending the drill.

The drill will highlight real combat, digitization and standardization to promote naval cooperation.

During the drill, the two naval forces will undertake defense, rescue, and anti-submarine operations, in addition to joint-island seizing missions and other activities.

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