Warships of the Russian and Chinese navies began a week of exercises in the East China Sea, which included live-fire practice.
China’s Ministry of National Defense announced on December 21 that the Sea Agreement 2022 exercise would take place from December 21 to 27 in the waters off Zhejiang province.
The exercise area extends from Zhoushan City to Taizhou, about 350 kilometers from the Taiwan Strait. The PLA Daily, the mouthpiece of China’s military, said the exercise focused on coordinating maritime security maintenance, with sections on blockade and control, ship boarding and visiting, and search and capture in air defense, rescue, anti-submarine, and other operations.
Two days earlier, the Russian Defense Ministry said that the drills would include the following:
- Coordinated missile launches.
- Artillery shelling at sea targets.
- Joint training in hunting submarines involving the use of real weapons.
The Russian Navy sent the missile cruiser Varyag, the Pacific Fleet’s flagship, the frigates Marshal Shaposhnikov, and the small corvettes Aldar Tsydenzhapov and Sovershenny to participate in the drills.
Chinese forces participating in the exercise include the destroyers Baotou and Jinan, the corvettes Xinzhou and Yancheng, the logistics ship Gao Biaohu, a submarine, early warning aircraft, and reconnaissance aircraft.
The Russian Defense Ministry stated that the main goal of the exercise is “to strengthen naval cooperation between Russia and China, as well as to maintain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.”
Relations between Russia and China have recently become increasingly close. In October 2021, the Russian and Chinese navies held joint exercises in the Sea of Japan, then joined a joint patrol in the western Pacific a few days later.
China announced in August that it was sending forces to Russia to participate in Vostok exercises with India, Belarus, Mongolia, Tajikistan, and some other countries. China announced that participation in the joint exercise “has nothing to do with the current international and regional situation.”