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First joint naval patrol by China, Russia in West Pacific

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China and Russia brought their naval forces out for their first joint sea patrol in waters in the West Pacific between October 17 to 23, the Chinese Ministry of Defense said on Saturday.

A China-Russia joint naval ships formation which included a total of 10 warships and six carrier-based helicopters carried out the joint maritime patrol in the Sea of Japan, the West Pacific, and the East China Sea, during which they organized exercises over joint sailing and joint maneuvers and conducted live-fire drills.

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The patrol was held right after China and Russia wrapped up a joint naval exercise in the Sea of Japan from October 14 to 17.

A China-Russia joint naval ships formation sails in the West Pacific on October 19, 2021. Photo: Li Tang
A China-Russia joint naval ships formation sails in the West Pacific

Immediate exercises including crossing, joint mobility, and live fire after the joint naval drill are closer to the situation of actual combat and able to test and improve the forces’ capacity of continuous operation and capacity to remain combat-ready in open seas. It could also improve Chinese and Russian navies’ capacity to deal with maritime security threats.

The latest joint sea patrol showed a high degree of actual combat. Immediately transformation from drill to patrol is a mechanism transforming from peacetime to wartime status. A statement from the Russian Ministry of Defense said on Saturday during the practical actions, the battleships sailed more than 1,700 nautical miles in total.

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The joint maritime patrol is aimed at further developing the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for the new era, elevating the joint action capabilities of both nations and jointly maintaining international and regional strategic stability. It’s a part of the annual cooperation plan between the two nations and is not targeted at any third parties, the Chinese Ministry of Defense stated.

Since 2019, air forces from China and Russia have conducted annual joint strategic air patrols over the East China Sea and the Sea of Japan. The joint sea patrol for the first time has built on enhanced military cooperation between the two strategic partners.

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