Russian troops mark historic team up with China – ‘First joint strategic exercise’

China and Russia 'still have deep mistrust' says analyst

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The exercises are said to safeguard regional security and stability as well as securing the good relationship between Beijing and Moscow. The drills are planned to run for five days, taking place from August 9 to 13.

General Liu Xiaowu, People’s Liberation Army Lieutenant and the commanding officer of the Chinese troops in the drills next week, gifted a flower bouquet to their arriving allies.

In a readout published by the Chinese Defense Ministry, Mr Liu “remarked that in the context of the big changes and pandemic, this is the first joint strategic exercise participated by Russian troops in China.”

The military exercises will reportedly involve 10,000 troops along with various weaponry and equipment.

During the ‘Zapad/Interaction-2021’ exercises, troops from both countries will make use of various aircrafts, artillery pieces and armoured equipment in their training.

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Earlier this week, Russian personnel arrived at a welcoming ceremony hosted by the People’s Liberation Army.

Senior Colonel Wu Qian, spokesperson for China’s Ministry of National Defence, has said the drills are to increase regional security and stability and “improving the joint anti-terrorism capabilities of the troops”.

Next week, the troops are set to leave for the Qingtongxia Joint Tactical Training Base in Northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region where the military exercises will take place.

The drills come amid growing tensions in the South China Sea with many Western allies showing presence in the disputed waters.

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On Monday, a German warship was dispatched and will pass through the disputed waters on its six month Indo-Pacific mission.

The German Defence Minister said they are “standing up for our values and interests” by sailing through the Chinese claimed territory.

China claims most of the 1.3 million square mile South China Sea and this will be the first German warship to pass through the area since 2002.

The UK is also in the area and has deployed HMS Queen Elizabeth and its strike group to the disputed territory.

The aircraft carrier sailed into the South China Sea to carry out navigational operations alongside US ships.

“It’s no secret that China shadows and challenges ships transiting international waters on very legitimate routes,” Ben Wallace, UK defence secretary, told the Times.

“We will respect China and we hope that China respects us . . . we will sail where international law allows.”

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