• Preparations Underway for Joint Patrols in Pacific Ocean

BEIJING (Agencies): After a successful four-day Northern/Interaction-2023 joint exercise in the Sea of Japan, China and Russia are gearing up for the next phase of joint naval and air patrols in the Pacific Ocean.

Experts praised the highly combat-oriented and practical nature of the drills, showcasing the two nations’ strong military cooperation in response to security threats.

The closing ceremony took place on the Type 052D destroyer Qiqihar of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, which served as the command ship for the exercises, as per the PLA Navy’s press release on Monday.

During the intense four-day drills, naval and air forces from both countries achieved multiple training objectives, including sea-air integrated escort and deterrence expulsion. They also practiced live fire surface-to-air shooting with ship-borne weapons systems.

The PLA Navy stated that the exercises successfully deepened mutual trust, enhanced friendship, and strengthened capabilities.

Rear Admiral Qiu Wensheng, the commander of the Northern/Interaction-2023 exercise, highlighted the significance of the joint operation in safeguarding strategic maritime routes and promoting strategic cooperation between China and Russia, contributing to stability in Northeast Asia.

The exercises focused on anti-sea mine, anti-aircraft, anti-ship, and anti-submarine operations, aligning with the theme of safeguarding strategic maritime routes in the Sea of Japan, which includes crucial strategic channels.

While the drills were not aimed at any third party, they occurred amid growing security threats from major geopolitical powers in the region, showcasing the mutual trust between China and Russia.

China deployed Type 052D guided missile destroyers Qiqihar and Guiyang, Type 054A guided missile frigates Zaozhuang and Rizhao, and the Type 903 comprehensive replenishment ship Taihu at sea. In the air, they utilized Y-20 large transport aircraft, KJ-500 early warning aircraft, J-16 fighter jets, and Z-20 helicopters. Russia, on the other hand, deployed large anti-submarine ships Admiral Tribunts and Admiral Panteleev, along with corvettes Gremyashy and Hero of the Russian Federation Aldar Tsydenzhapov, and various aircraft.

With the completion of the Northern/Interaction-2023 joint exercise, China and Russia are now preparing for joint patrols in the Pacific waters. This is expected to be the first joint naval and air patrol between the two nations, further solidifying their strategic cooperation. China and Russia have previously conducted two joint naval patrols and regular joint aerial strategic patrols, showcasing their increasingly enhanced cooperation.

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