The armed forces of the Communist Chinese and Russian governments began a series of unprecedented joint naval “war games” over the weekend as part of a deepening “strategic partnership” between the two powers, sparking concerns among geopolitical analysts. The controversial exercises are expected to last all week.
Officials involved in the drills claimed the purpose of the so-called “Naval Cooperation-2012” scheme was to build up the capabilities of both militaries while facilitating future collaboration in confronting “regional threats.” The operations, taking place in the Yellow Sea, involve air defenses, anti-submarine warfare, electronic countermeasures, and unspecified “sensitive technologies.”
"The joint naval exercise will be held within the framework of strategic partnership principles agreed by leaders of both countries," Russian Navy Deputy Chief of Staff Rear Adm. Leonid Sukhanov told a Chinese Communist Party-run propaganda organ. "Armament, support and protection systems will be practically tested, as well as command and control systems of the Russian and Chinese armed forces."
Some 16 Chinese Navy ships and at least two submarines will participate in the massive training operations off the coast of China, according to news reports. The Russian government reportedly sent seven vessels including a guided-missile cruiser and three destroyers — maybe more.
“The exercises will involve several simulated missions, including the rescue of a hijacked ship, the escort of a commercial vessel, and the defense of a convoy from air and sea attacks,” a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman was quoted as saying in media reports. Functionaries from both the Chinese and Russian governments said the war games were not aimed at any particular nation.
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Photo of Chinese nuclear submarine: AP Images