Thursday 19 April 2018

China and Russia in joint naval exercises in the Mediterranean

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin

Tom Parfitt

Russia and China are launching joint naval exercises in the Mediterranean for the first time, in the latest sign of strengthening ties between the two countries. About 10 warships are taking part in the drills, which are expected to run until May 21.

Moscow has been tightening its clinch with Beijing in the face of sanctions imposed by the United States and the EU over the Ukraine crisis.

Anatoly Antonov, Russia's deputy defence minister, said the military cooperation demonstrated a common understanding of "challenges and threats", and of "the need to restructure the current world order". That chimed with comments made by Vladimir Putin at a Victory Day parade in Moscow on Saturday to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

The Russian president said then that "global development" was being undermined by "attempts to create a unipolar world", in a reference to the United States. Xi Jinping, China's president, was the most prominent foreign leader at the victory celebrations, where anti-Americans such as Raul Castro of Cuba, Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe also lined up in front of Lenin's mausoleum.

Western leaders boycotted the event in protest at Russia's annexation of Crimea and its support for pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine.

China has been openly developing a naval strategy aimed at challenging American dominance of the western Pacific, including in the waters around Japan and Taiwan. (© Daily Telegraph, London).

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