China and Russia build on naval cooperation with Taiwan Strait drills

China and Russia build on naval cooperation with Taiwan Strait drills

Joint naval exercises conducted by China and Russia off the Chinese port city of Qingdao conclude today. Code-named Joint Sea 2019,

china russia navies

Photo: Reuters

Joint naval exercises conducted by China and Russia off the Chinese port city of Qingdao conclude today.

Code-named Joint Sea 2019, the drills featured a submarine, two guided-missile destroyers, three guided-missile frigates, a guided-missile cruiser, and a number of other vessels. Participating forces came from Russia’s Pacific Fleet and China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy.

Russia and China have a long history of military cooperation dating back to the early Cold War. However, this collaboration was disrupted by the Sino-Soviet split starting in the 1960s. Today, the two countries have found common ground in opposing the US on a number of more recent issues, including support for Nicolas Maduro’s government in Venezuela, support for the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, and opposition to the return of American sanctions against Iran.

Despite these shared interests, the restoration of the Russo-Chinese strategic partnership faces a number of challenges. Historically, the economic relationship between the two has been one of dependency. China has long imported a significant portion of its hydrocarbons and agricultural products from Russia. With China’s Belt and Road Initiative underway, concerns that this dependency relationship may soon end could translate to new difficulties for political and military cooperation.

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