China, Russia Start Joint Navy Drill in South China Sea

Zhang Tao

ZHANJIANG, Guangdong, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- China and Russia started a joint naval drill off Guangdong Province in the South China Sea on Tuesday.

The "Joint Sea 2016" drill will run until Sept. 19, featuring navy surface ships, submarines, fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, marines and amphibious armored equipment.

Wang Hai, Chinese chief director of the exercise and deputy commander of the Chinese Navy, said the joint drill is "a strategic measure" and a concrete action to promote the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership and will deepen exchanges and cooperation between the two militaries, especially the two navies.

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

Several procedures will be undertaken during the drill, including joint air defense, anti-submarine operations, landing, search and rescue, island-seizing and weapon use.

Tuesday's exercise featured a light weapons shooting competition, sea crossing, island landing, climbing and gliding.

The joint drill demonstrates the shared security concerns of both China and Russia, Chen Hu, a military expert, told Xinhua. The joint exercise helps improve the capability of the two navies to address maritime security threats, and safeguard regional security and stability.

"One of the joint exercise highlights is coordinated three-dimensional island seizing," Chen said.

Zhang Junshe, senior research fellow of the Military and Academic Institute of the Chinese Navy, said the navies would perform operations in a number of areas, including air defense, anti-submarine, anti-vessel, and landings.

The drills would give the two parties an opportunity to show each other their combat effectiveness, and the performance data of their military vessels, planes, radar and sonar.

"An exercise on such subjects can only be operated between navies with a high level of mutual trust," said Zhang.

"The joint China-Russia naval exercise is essentially defensive and totally different from the island landing and retaking drills that a few countries engage in year after year in the west pacific region, against an imaginary enemy," Zhang said.

The joint exercise will enhance practical combat capability and increase deterrence in front of countries that have plotted against China, said Zhang.


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