Russia & China to hold joint naval drills in East China Sea

East China Sea Air Defense Identification ZoneChina’s East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone

Reuters reports (via The Sydney Morning Herald), May 1, 2014, that on April 30, China said it would conduct joint naval drills with Russia in the East China Sea off Shanghai in late May, in what it called a bid to deepen military co-operation.

China’s defense ministry did not give an exact location in the East China Sea, where Beijing is locked in an increasingly bitter dispute with Japan over the ownership of a group of uninhabited islets called Senkaku by Japanese and Diaoyu by Chinese.

“These drills are regular exercises held by China and Russia’s navies, and the purpose is to deepen practical co-operation between the two militaries, to raise the ability to jointly deal with maritime security threats,” the ministry said on its website. It provided no other details.

China alarmed Japan, South Korea and the United States last year when it announced an air defense identification zone for the East China Sea, covering the Senkaku islands.

The Beijing government, which is swiftly ramping up military spending, has regularly dispatched patrols to the East China Sea since it established the defense zone.

China was angered last week after US President Barack Obama assured ally Japan that Washington was committed to its defense, including the disputed isles. (See “Obama makes promises to Japan and South Korea“)

Earlier this month, Tokyo announced it would break ground on a new radar base on Yonaguni island close to Taiwan and the Senkakus. (See “Japan expands its military footprint for first time in 40 years to counter China“)

China and Russia have close diplomatic, security and economic ties, and regularly carry out military exercises together.


5 responses to “Russia & China to hold joint naval drills in East China Sea

  1. Thank you StMA for this important post. And why would China and Russia need to join together for cooperative purposes? Their verbiage speaks volumes. . .


  2. A. James Gregor, Ph.D. & Professor

    By this time, Beijing’s diplomatic and strategic behavior has become fairly easy to comprehend. China uses Russia to enhance its military posture vis-a-vis the United States and its real and potential allies in the East and South China seas.

    Russia uses China as a stick to poke the United States in the eye — keeping Washington off balance. What seems equally clear is the fact that Beijing will travel only a limited distance to keep Russia as a potential ally. When the opportunity arose to support Russia on the occasion of a vote on the ukrainian/Crimean “aggression,” China abstained from voting against Moscow, but also abstained from voting in favor of Putin.

    (1) The Chinese leadership did not wish to be identified with Moscow’s plans for the restoration of “lost’ lands.
    (2) The Russians threatened to invade Ukraine. Beijing has few real objections to that (one need only ask the Tibetans, the Vietnamese, and the Indians!). But the Chinese are not at all in favor of a referendum to decide the fate of disputed territories — something Moscow was prepared to recommend concerning the future of Ukraine. Beijing would never allow the Taiwanese a vote in order the decide their relationship with the People’s Republic. By abstaining from the vote concerning the reaction to Russia’s behavior with respect to Ukraine, China affirmed it would stand beside Moscow against the interests of the West — always with an eye to Beijing’s interest.

    Precisely the same considerations govern the policies of the Chinese political and military leadership when pursuing military cooperation with Moscow. Behind the apparent cooperation, the long shadow of the Russian Far East looms large — it is an enormous territory that Moscow acquired with what Beijing still refers to as “unequal treaties.” Beijing will do nothing to jeopardize its claims in the Russian Far East. So, for the foreseeable future, Beijing will play a cat and mouse game with the Western powers. And Washington. without a discernible policy of its own, will dash from pillar to post in an apparent effort to appear relevant.


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