China and Russia begin South China Sea exercise

ZHANJIANG: The China-Russia navy drill, taking place for the first time in the South China Sea, is expected to improve their combined ability to counter “common security threats”, a senior Chinese Navy officer said.

Wang Hai, deputy commander of the Chinese Navy and director of the drill for China, made the remarks at a ceremony on the arrival of five Russian ships in Zhanjiang, Guangdong province.

Both navies are expected learn from each other, deepen friendship, and advance the bilateral ties during the eight-day exercise, he said.

The Joint Sea-2016 drill is being held in the eastern waters off Zhanjiang, Guangdong’s southernmost city, where the Chinese Navy’s Nanhai Fleet is headquartered.

Wang said this is the fifth annual joint naval exercise between China and Russia. China has also taken part in Russia’s international military competition for two consecutive years, and the two countries’ forces have improved their abilities in joint military operations, he said.

Vice-Admiral Aleksandr Fedoten­kov, the Russian Navy’s deputy commander-in-chief and director of the drill for Russia, said that with the advances they have made through naval exercises, the two navies are able to jointly cope with maritime threats.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said on Monday that the strategic ties between China and Russia are “self-evident”. — China Daily/Asia News Network

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