Russia and China began their Joint Sea 2015 II exercises in the Sea of Japan with 22 vessels, 20 aircraft, and 40 armored vehicles. The exercises occur just off the coast of Vladivostok.
“During the active phase of the maritime maneuvers to last till August 27, the sailors work out the issues of join [sic] anti-sabotage, anti-submarine, anti-vessel and anti-aircraft defense,” explained Roman Martov, Russia’s Eastern Military District spokesman. “Besides that there’ll be gunnery drills with different types of surface, underwater and aerial targets.”
It is the first time China is participating in “war games” in the Sea of Japan. Relations are tense between China and Japan since China recently “started constructing oil and gas installations in the East China Sea.” Russia borders the Sea of Japan, unlike China, but both countries insist these games are “not meant to be directed against any country.”
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decided not to attend WWII 70th anniversary celebrations in China next month because of the strained relationship, expanded Chinese military, and his schedule in Parliament. China will march over 10,000 troops through Beijing on September 3. Western leaders believe “the show of military power could send the wrong signal in an already tense region.”
In an op-ed featured in Russian media, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated the growing relationship between Russia and China is imperative due “for international stability”:
“Their basis is in feeling of sincere friendship and sympathy between our peoples, deep mutual respect and trust, consideration of key interests of each other, interest in prosperity of our countries,” Lavrov wrote. “In fact, we are talking about inter-state relations of new type, a kind of cooperation model in the 21st century,” he continued.
“Russia and China adhere to equal or close approaches on key modern problems, consistently stand for forming a new polycentric world order with reliance on international law, respect to self-identity of different peoples, their right to choose independently the way of development,” the foreign minister said. “We are resolute opponents of imposing one’s will on sovereign countries, including by military means, of unilateral sanctions pressure, and in general of employing the practice of ‘double standards,’” Lavrov noted.
On Monday morning, China sent out a KJ-200 early warning plane to guide four fighter jets for the daily military exercises with Russia.
Russia and China grew closer in the past 16 months after Moscow invaded Ukraine and President Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea. The West established numerous sanctions against Russia, which forced Putin and his friends to look for other partnerships. Russia agreed to sell natural gas to China to lower Moscow’s dependence on Europe’s money. The two countries also joined with Brazil, India, and South Africa to form the BRICS alliance to rival the International Monetary Fund.