China, Russia to launch third naval patrol amid Australia drills
Growing tensions in the Asia Pacific region have translated into increased cooperation between the Russian and Chinese navies, as Australia hosts large-scale military drills with Western allies.
Russia and China will launch their third joint naval patrol just after completing the Northern/Interaction-2023 joint exercises in the Sea of Japan, the Global Times reported on Wednesday citing a press release of the Chinese Ministry of National Defense.
Warships and vessels of both armies will be sailing into West and North Pacific waters, in accordance with an annual cooperation schedule between their militaries.
The Global Times says the exercise could reach the Bering Sea, as the Chinese People's Liberation Amry's Navy seeks to showcase its far sea capabilities, coinciding with the largest ever joint military drill held by 13 countries, including the US, Australia, the UK Canada, and Japan in Australian waters.
The Ministry's press release said the naval patrol is not aimed at a third party and is not related to any international or regional tensions.
The two countries completed their first naval patrol back in 2021, where the Chinese and Russian navies sailed through the Sea of Japan, the West Pacific, and the East China Sea in a seven-day-long patrol, completing a full circumnavigation of Japan.
The second followed the Russia-led Vostok-2022 strategic drills in 2022, in which the two countries' ships reached the Bering Sea and the West Pacific.
On July 23, China and Russia finalized the Northern/Interaction-2023 joint exercises in the Sea of Japan after four days. The Global Times reported that China sent the Type-052D guided missile destroyers Qiqihar and Huiyand, the Type-054 guided missile frigates Zaozhuang and Rizhao, and the Type-903 comprehensive replenishment ship Taihu.
Comparably, Russia deployed the Udolay class anti-submarine destroyer ships Admiral Tribunts and Admiral Panteleev, as well as the corvettes Gremyashy and Hero of the Russian Federation Aldar Tsydenzhapov.
The US Navy Secretary, Carlos Del Toro, commented on the large-scale drills saying, "The most important message that China can take from this exercise and anything that our allies and partners do together is that we are extremely tied by the core values that exist among our many nations together."
Del Toro's remarks were followed by a commissioning ceremony of the USS Canberra held at Garden Island in the presence of US and Australian Navy chiefs. This marked the first-ever US naval warship to join active service at a foreign port, which is evidence of the increased military cooperation between countries of the AUKUS pact in the face of China.