China will join Russia later this week for its largest-ever naval drills with a foreign partner, underscoring deepening ties between the former Cold War rivals along with Beijing’s desire for closer links with regional militaries, said AP. “Joint Sea-2013” exercises, will start Friday, 5 July in the Sea of Japan and run through July 12. The ships departed Monday from the port of Qingdao, where China’s Northern Fleet is based, headed for the rallying point in Peter the Great Bay near Vladivostok.
Gen. Fang Fenghui, the People’s Liberation Army chief of the general staff, announced the exercises during a visit to Moscow, where he met with his Russian counterpart, Valery Gerasimov. The two also announced that another round of anti-terrorism joint drills would be held in Russia’s Ural Mountain region of Chelyabinsk from July 27 to Aug. 15.
Cooperation with the U.S. Navy, the predominant maritime force in the region, has been more limited, although China will take part next year in the U.S. – organized multinational Rim of the Pacific exercises, the world’s largest maritime exercise.