Beijing will send troops to Russia to participate in joint military exercises at the end of the month, in order to “deepen cooperation” between the two armies, announced the Chinese Ministry of Defense. China and Russia enjoy close defense ties and Beijing has said it wants to take bilateral relations “to a higher level”, despite international condemnations over the war in Ukraine.
As part of a cooperation with Russia
According to a statement released Wednesday, China will participate in the annual “Vostok” exercises – scheduled from August 30 to September 5 according to Moscow – as part of its cooperation with Russia. “The aim is to deepen practical and friendly cooperation with the armies of the participating countries, increase the level of strategic collaboration between the participating parties and enhance the ability to respond to various security threats,” the ministry said. Defense in the press release.
India, Belarus, Mongolia, Tajikistan, among others, will also participate in these exercises. China and India have been accused in recent months of providing diplomatic cover for Russia by opposing Western sanctions and arms sales to Ukraine. But Beijing assures that its participation in the military exercises is “unrelated to the current situation at the regional and international level”. These are the second exercises jointly conducted by China and Russia this year.
Joint maneuvers already organized near Japan
In May, the two countries had organized 13-hour maneuvers near Japan and South Korea, forcing the latter to launch fighter jets as a deterrent, when US President Joe Biden was in Tokyo. Washington regularly worries about the rapprochement between China and Russia, believing that it endangers global security.
Asked about Chinese participation in these joint exercises, State Department spokesman Ned Price, however, indicated that the United States had no “particular interpretation”. “Most of the countries concerned also regularly participate in a wide range of military exercises and exchanges with the United States,” he told a press conference.