China and Russia will launch eight days of joint naval drills in the South China Sea on Monday, a move observers said underlined the growing partnership between the countries amid rising military pressure from the United States.
The exercise off Zhanjiang, Guangdong province, would involve surface ships, submarines, fixed-wing aircraft, ship-borne helicopters and marines from China’s South Sea Fleet, a statement on the defence ministry’s website quoted People’s Liberation Army Navy spokesman Liang Yang as saying.
China, Russia to hold joint naval drill in South China Sea
The drills come two months after an international tribunal in The Hague dismissed China’s historical claims to most of the South China Sea.
China refused to take part in the arbitration and has accused the US of stoking tensions between China and its Southeast Asian neighbours.
Personnel from the Chinese and Russian navies will conduct defence, rescue, anti-submarine drills as well as exercises to take control of islands, Liang said.
The marine corps will also take part in live-fire drills, sea crossing and island landing operations, he said.