Russian Federation and China to conduct regular war games together, minister says

Frederick Owens
September 14, 2018

Chinese ambassador to Russia Li Hui said relations between the two neighboring countries were at their "best (level) in history", in an interview with Chinese state media Xinhua Monday.

In the far East of Russian Federation began military exercises "Vostok-2018", which will be the largest in modern history of Russian Federation.

Taking part in the drills are around 300,000 Russian soldiers, 36,000 military vehicles, 80 ships and 1,000 aircraft, helicopters and drones, as well as 3,500 Chinese troops.

The week-long war games dubbed "Vostok-2018" (East-2018), "have kicked off" in far eastern Russian Federation and on the Pacific Ocean, the defense ministry said in a statement.

No doubt, both Russian Federation and China relish the opportunity of flexing military muscle just as USA threats are heating up and tensions are at boiling point over Syria, where both countries have condemned past American and Western military actions targeting the Assad government. The drill shall also test the maneuvering defense of all military personnel and arsenal, their capability to inflict damage to enemies, and accuracy of the army aviation.

But Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said this time would be even larger, with 300,000 soldiers, 36,000 military vehicles, 1,000 planes and 80 warships taking part in the drills.

China and Russian Federation would promote "the political resolution of hotspot issues, resolutely upholding the United Nations charters and principles and standing firm against unilateralism and protectionism to construct a new type of global relations and a community of shared future for mankind", Xi said in comments Tuesday alongside Putin.

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Meanwhile Russia's foreign ministry has sought to downplay the significance of the sheer volume of forces deployed for Vostok-2018 as well as Chinese cooperation.

President Vladimir Putin is expected to attend the war games after hosting an economic forum in Vladivostok where Chinese leader Xi Jinping is one of the guests.

He added he believed the "friendship is getting stronger all the time" between the two countries.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation spokesman Dylan White said the war games revealed "a more assertive Russia" which is "significantly increasing its defence budget and military presence".

"I see little in the long term that aligns Russian Federation and China", he said.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the drills were compulsory to safeguard itself amid the present worldwide condition which is quite belligerent and antagonistic.

Hong Kong-based commentator Song Zhongping said China was anxious to acquire more experience in large-scale operations that might become a factor in a conflict with the USA and others over territorial claims in Asia.

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