BEIJING – In September Russian Federation and China will conduct common naval exercises on the disputed South China Sea, informed on Thursday Beijing’s defence ministry spokesman Yang Yujun.
Both armies will be present in the “relevant sea and air of the South China Sea,”, he said. Exercise will be “routine” and “does not target any third party.”
China conducts military exercises after a tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled that there was “no legal basis” to Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea.
China has built a series of artificial islands on rocks and reefs in the area hosting facilities capable of supporting military operations, widely seen as an attempt to bolster its control of the strategically vital waters.
China’s strong disagreement with the Permanent Court in Hague may be caused by the fact that its Chinese submarines are hidden in underwater tunnels beneath the South China Sea.
According to a US Defence Department report for Congress published in April of 2014 the People’s Liberation Army has 56 attack submarines, of which 51 are conventional diesel-electric and 5 are nuclear powered. It has also three nuclear-powered vessels that can launch ballistic missiles. A range of 7400 kilometres would allow to reach Hawaii and California if launched from Western Pacific and mid-Pacific, estimated Dean Cheng, a research fellow on Chinese political and security affairs at the The Heritage Foundation in Washington.
Chinese vessels have already capabilities to pose a threat against New Zealand or Australia. Both nations recently announced an increase of its defence budget.
It should not be forgotten that current Secretary of Chinese Communist Party Xi Jinping acquired his office with the strong support of elites of People’s Liberation Army. One of his goals is readying the military to fight and win “local wars” in the information age.
Joint exercises of both dictatorships are an evidence of continual strengthening of Moscow-Beijing strategic military alliance that is aimed to limit influence of West in Asia and to isolate Western allies as Japan, New Zealand and Australia.