China, Russia hold largest joint naval drills

BEIJING — China and Russia kicked off their largest-ever joint naval drills on Friday in the Sea of Japan, a further sign of the broad-based progress in ties between the former Communist rivals.

Eighteen surface ships, one submarine, three airplanes, five ship-launched helicopters and two commando units were taking part in the “Joint Sea-2013” exercise that runs through July 12. The drills will cover anti-submarine warfare, close maneuvering and the simulated take-over of an enemy ship.

The drills are considerably bigger than anything China’s navy has previously held with a foreign partner. China’s increasingly formidable navy is contributing four destroyers, two latest-generation guided missile frigates and a support ship, all of which sailed Monday from the port of Qingdao, where China’s Northern Fleet is based, to the rallying point in Peter the Great Bay near Vladivostok.

“This is our strongest lineup ever in a joint naval drill,” Rear Admiral Yang Junfei, commander of the Chinese contingent, was quoted as saying by state media.

China has long been a key customer for Russian military hardware, but only in the last decade have the two countries’ militaries begun training jointly. The naval drills are to be followed by another round of anti-terrorism joint drills in Russia’s Ural Mountain region of Chelyabinsk from July 27 to Aug. 15.

China’s armed forces are eagerly pursuing stronger links with most regional militaries with the notable exception of Japan, with which China is embroiled in a strongly emotional spat over control of an uninhabited East China Sea island group north of Taiwan.

China began deploying ships to the anti-piracy flotilla off the coast of Somalia in 2008 and in recent years its navy has joined in a series of joint drills in the Pacific and Indian oceans. Chinese land units also have taken part in border security and anti-terrorism exercises organized by the six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Cooperation with the U.S. Navy, the predominant maritime force in the region, has been more limited, although China will take part next year in the U.S.-organized multinational Rim of the Pacific exercises, the world’s largest maritime drills.

More in Local News

Elderly couple escape serious injuries in crash with train

The driver drove down tracks instead of a road, hitting a slow-moving train near Stanwood.

Officials ID man shot and killed in apparent Everett robbery

Police believe the victim may have known the shooter, who drove away before the officers arrived.

Man, 60, in critical condition after Bothell crash

Police believe the driver may have been speeding when he hit a rock wall.

Missing Marysville woman found safe out of state

A Marysville senior who was reported missing in March has… Continue reading

FBI operation arrests 3 linked to exploitation of 32 women

The sting focused on Everett and other cities in Snohomish, King, Pierce, Skagit and Spokane counties.

Man arrested in Monroe Walmart robbery; second suspect flees

The pair fled in a stolen Mitsubishi Lancer with a distinctive green spray paint job.

Fugitive convict, missing more than a year, surrenders

Charles Coggins, 60, turned himself in Monday. He could now spend up to 30 days behind bars.

Former homeless camp needs needles and garbage cleaned up

The Hand Up Project will lead a volunteer effort this weekend on wooded land south of Everett.

County Council postpones vote on conservation programs

A decision on funding agricultural and water-quality programs will come after the budget process.

Most Read