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China, Russia hold joint naval drills

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-07-05 20:37

VLADIVOSTOK - China and Russia on Friday started joint naval drills off the coast of Russia's Far East.

Seven vessels from China's North Sea Fleet and South Sea Fleet and 12 vessels from Russia's Pacific Fleet are taking part in the weeklong exercises.

Participating forces also include fixed-wing aircraft, carrier-based helicopters and special operations detachments.

Addressing a welcoming ceremony at the naval port for Russia's Pacific Fleet, Leonid Sukhanov, deputy chief of staff of the Russian Navy, called "Joint Sea 2013" one of the largest joint military maneuvers in the region.

The drill is aimed at enhancing the two navies' capability in coordinating maritime defense operations, he said.

Ding Yiping, deputy commander of the Chinese navy, said the exercises marked the first time the two navies staged joint exercises near Russia's Peter the Great Bay. After a similar drill last year, the two sides would coordinate better, he said.

"The joint military drill is not aimed at any third party," Ding said.

China and Russia have sent their main naval forces, Chinese military experts said.

China's vessels include four destroyers and two frigates, which have been on active service since the beginning of the century. Russia's vessels, led by the Varyag cruiser, also represent the Russian navy's current fighting capacity, the experts said.

The maneuvers will focus on anti-submarine and anti-ship operations, maritime air defense, joint escorts as well as marine search and rescue operations.

The two navies conducted a joint drill in the Yellow Sea in 2012.

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