China-Russia joint patrol in South China Sea

Written by Staff Writer Lydia Chávez, CNN A joint patrol by Russia and China was conducted Sunday in the western Pacific Ocean, Russia’s defense ministry said on Monday. The patrol was designed to “make…

China-Russia joint patrol in South China Sea

Written by Staff Writer Lydia Chávez, CNN

A joint patrol by Russia and China was conducted Sunday in the western Pacific Ocean, Russia’s defense ministry said on Monday.

The patrol was designed to “make a statement about the importance of cooperation in a region where sanctions and operations by foreign special services are a normal feature,” the ministry said.

The two warships carried out “deployment and landing exercises,” and carried out a “maneuvering, climbing and boarding task,” it said.

There was no additional information given about the vessel participating in the patrol — the Patriot group, a modern, Chinese-built destroyer.

Robust action

The patrol will add to an unprecedented period of militarily-related “bold” action by China. On July 11, the Chinese navy held the largest exercise in its history in waters north of the Philippines, demonstrating the military might Beijing hopes to exhibit to Southeast Asian neighbors.

“The exercise conducted by China was complex, but successful,” a Chinese navy spokesman said in a statement.

China has repeatedly claimed its military activity is just that — an exercise. The Communist nation’s air force has frequently conducted manned air force exercises in the contested South China Sea, despite legal efforts by neighbors to restrict such activity.

“(The joint patrol) is the reflection of common interests, but also activities which are legitimate and expected by the international community,” said Tang Yunfei, a research fellow at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies.

China has dismissed allegations that military activity within the South China Sea is dangerous or destabilizing.

Southeast Asian countries are key to China’s ambitions to connect the world’s largest country by land. China hopes the infrastructure it constructs will grow in trade and population, creating pressure for more economic, political and diplomatic influence from Beijing.

In May, the Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency said Chinese President Xi Jinping and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte had agreed to build a “peaceful and friendly relationship” after a summit of regional leaders in Danang, Vietnam.

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