Amidst the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, China and Russia have commenced joint military exercises codenamed “Northern/Interaction-2023” in the Sea of Japan.
The primary objective of this exercise, as stated by China’s Defense Ministry, is to “safeguard the security of strategic waterways.”
According to a recent announcement by Russia’s Defense Ministry on Thursday, the exercise, which will extend until July 23rd, involves live artillery fire, anti-submarine drills, and naval combat simulations.
A fleet of more than 10 vessels, including Chinese destroyers, frigates, and Russian anti-submarine ships, gathered in the central Sea of Japan to participate in the maneuvers.
The joint exercises also saw the deployment of over 30 aircraft, including fighter jets, early warning aircraft, and transport planes.
Chinese military commentator Song Zhongping, in a video released last Saturday, speculated that Russia and China may conduct joint sea and air patrols following the completion of the exercise.
Prior to these joint exercises, two Russian warships, Gromkiy and Sovershenniy, underwent separate training with the Chinese navy in Shanghai earlier this month. The training sessions focused on formation movements, communication, and sea rescues.
Experts cited by the Global Times highlight that the exercise location in the Sea of Japan is geographically closer to Russia than to China. Utilizing a Russian airfield allows for a swift response to potential threats in the Sea of Japan.
Notably, other nations in the region have also been engaged in military exercises. Japan, the U.S., and South Korea recently conducted a joint missile defense exercise in international waters in the Sea of Japan. These exercises reflect the escalating security concerns in the region.