Beijing, Dec 22 (EFE).- China and Russia began joint military exercises on the East China Sea, according to state-owned People’s Daily newspaper Thursday.
The drills, held annually since 2012, kicked off on Wednesday and is expected to continue until Dec.27.
An opening ceremony was held on Wednesday afternoon in an unspecified area of the East China Sea involving Chinese destroyer Jinan and Russian cruiser Varyag.
Senior Captain Gao Xiucheng said the Joint Sea 2022 naval exercise would involve operations like an area blockade, air defense, search and rescue, and anti-submarine strike, said People’s Daily.
He added that this year’s exercise will feature realistic combat scenarios and new training methods, and is expected to further develop the two navies’ cooperation and communication.
Five ships from the Chinese navy, including CNS Baotou – a guided-missile destroyer – and CNS Binzhou – a guided-missile frigate – was expected to participate in the exercise along with submarines, early-warning aircraft and helicopters.
From the Russian side, five warships, including the Slava-class missile cruiser Varyag, the flagship of the Pacific Fleet, and the Udaloy-class guided-missile destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov, are involved.
The maneuvers take place in the waters off the coastal cities of Zhoushan and Taizhou, in the eastern province of Zhejiang, about 500 kilometers (310 miles) off the northern coast of the island of Taiwan.
Earlier this week, China’s defense ministry said in a statement that the aim of these exercises was to demonstrate the determination and ability of the two sides to jointly respond to threats to maritime security and maintain international and regional peace and stability.
The naval drills come amid the conflict in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion of the country, in which China has maintained an ambiguous stance.
China has called for dialogue and moderation to solve the conflict, as opposed to the Western nations that have opted for economic sanctions on Russia in a bid to stop its military aggression.
In February, shortly before the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the leaders from Moscow and Beijing met in the Chinese capital to declare a “friendship without limits” between their nations. EFE