Russian and Chinese warships conducted their first combined patrols in the Pacific Ocean from October 17 to 23. China and Russia have built tighter military and political ties in recent years, including joint naval exercises in the Sea of Japan earlier this month.
China and Russia Show their Military Warships in the Pacific Ocean
Warships from Russia and China passed through the Tsugaru Strait for the first time during the mission. The Tsugaru Strait joins the Pacific Ocean with the Sea of Japan. According to Reuters, the Strait is located between the Japanese islands of Honshu and Hokkaido in the country’s northern region.
The statement CNN obtained revealed the combined patrol’s goal. These include displaying the state flags of Russia and China, promoting peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific area, and defending the infrastructure of both countries’ marine commercial activity.
Sky News said that destroyers, frigates, a refueling vessel, and a missile-tracking ship were among the ships witnesses found in the combined Russian-Chinese force. Japan has been keeping a close eye on the naval drill after a group of ten boats from China and Russia traveled through the Tsugaru Strait earlier this week.
Immediate exercises after the combined naval training, such as crossing, joint mobility, and live fire, are closer to the conditions of real fighting and may test and develop the forces’ ability for continuous operation and combat readiness in open seas.
First Joint Naval Patrol in West Pacific Is ‘Of Vital Significance’
Zhang Junshe, a senior research fellow at the People’s Liberation Army’s Naval Research Academy, told the Global Times on Saturday that the move might also strengthen Chinese and Russian armies’ capabilities to cope with maritime security challenges.
He stressed the importance of the first China-Russia combined naval patrol in West Pacific seas to send a clear signal and execute real-world exercises.
In the same report, military specialist Song Zhongping said that coordinated air and naval patrols between China and Russia will be more prevalent in the future. A coordinated air-sea patrol would follow, demonstrating more excellent actual combat capability and deeper China-Russia friendship, and enhanced joint operation capabilities.
The two countries have a long history of military cooperation. They’ve taken part in several joint military exercises, the most high-profile of which being “Vostok 2018,” a simulated conflict in which a Russian-Chinese alliance faced off against a fictitious opponent.
President Xi Jinping of China is a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In June, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Zhao Lijian said that the two nations are “linked like a mountain” and had an “unbreakable” bond.