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Russia-China military cooperation to enhance joint potential

The just-started Russian-Chinese naval exercise Maritime Cooperation-2015 at Russia's Black Sea Port of Novorossiysk will contribute tangibly to enhancing cooperation and joint potential for resisting threats to both countries' national security, polled experts have told TASS.

Taking part in the exercise will be six ships of the Russian Navy, including the Black Sea Fleet's flagship missile-carrying cruiser The Moskva, patrol ship The Ladny and two amphibious assault ships The Aleksandr Otrakovsky and the Aleksandr Shabalin, as well as a salvage tug and rocket-carrying hovercraft The Samum. China has delegated two frigates: The Linyi and The Weifang, and a support ship. The active phase of the exercise will be held in the Mediterranean till May 21.

As Russia's Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Aksyonov said after talks between Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu and deputy chief of China's Central Military Council Fang Chanlun, "the Chinese counterparts emphasized the similarity of attitudes to the problem of challenges and threats and pointed to the need for reformatting the current world order, eradicating double standards and strengthening equitable and mutually beneficial relations in the world."

The head of the Russian Academy of Sciences' International security centre, Aleksei Arbatov, told TASS in an interview China had already had an experience of holding joint military exercises with the United States in the Pacific. "The Maritime Cooperation - 2015 exercise China has agreed to participate in indicates that China's policy is multi-vectored and Beijing is equidistant from various centres of force. For China the current exercise is a symbol of a balanced foreign policy and a demonstration its global foothold is getting stronger," Arbatov said.

For Russia and China stronger military-technical cooperation is a palliative of a military-political alliance, so fearsome to the West, although there is none and there cannot ever be any, because Beijing is keen to maintain a balance in relations with Russia and the United States. Washington, Beijing and Moscow are the big triangle where a big political game will always be underway," Arbatov said.

"For Russia a joint military exercise is a symbol of a rapprochement with China. It is a good opportunity for the two countries to practice smooth cooperation in salvage and peace-keeping operations on the high seas and measures to rebuff terrorist and piratic attacks," he believes.

The president of the Geopolitical Problems Academy, Dr. Konstantin Sivkov, has described the Russian-Chinese military exercise as an epoch-making event. "Maritime Cooperation - 2015 is an illustration Moscow and Beijing are not just economic partners but long-term military and political allies. Washington must be aware that Russia and China are capable of not only acting on their own, but to jointly safeguard their national interests and resist threats to national security," Sivkov told TASS.

"The participation of Chinese naval ships in a naval exercise in the Mediterranean is a clear hint Beijing would like to see its Navy present in conflict zones near Syria, Iran and Yemen. Beijing will be able to influence events in the region not only through diplomatic methods, but also through a show of military muscle, providing potential support for Russia," Sivkov believes.

And the president of the International Centre for Geopolitical Analysis, Leonid Ivashov, has told TASS the Russian-Chinese exercise in the Mediterranean is a clear sign Moscow and Beijing are determined to act together to protect their national interests. "Also, this is a great hope for the Middle East countries, which are eager to shrug off dependence on the United States and Europe," Ivashov said.

"The East has certainly turned towards Russia as far a security matters is concerned. That was well-seen in the fact that at the V-Day's 70th anniversary ceremony in Moscow's Red Square China's leader Xi Jinping was seated next to Russian President Vladimir Putin and that three branches of China's Armed Forces participated in the march-past, Ivashov said.

[Source: By Tamara Zamyatina, Itar Tass, Moscow, 12May15]

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