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China, Russia to have largest ever joint naval drills

China sent its largest fleet of seven warships to conduct exercises with Russian navy as the two strategic partners forged closer military ties.

Beijing: China on Tuesday sent its largest fleet of seven warships to conduct exercises with Russian navy as the two strategic partners forged closer military ties in the face of a major US military push into Asia-Pacific.

State TV reported that China has deployed some of its most modern frigates to take part in the exercises, the second by the two countries in as many years.

This is the biggest fleet committed by China in the exercises with Russia, the report said.

Fang Fenghui, Chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People` s Liberation Army (PLA), together with his Russian counterpart Valery Gerasimov, announced the exercises in Moscow, reported the state run Xinhua news agency .
According to the two officials, the two navies will hold "Joint Sea-2013" drill in Peter the Great Bay, Sea of Japan from July 5 to July 12, and China-Russia joint anti-terrorism military drill code-named Peace Mission-2013 in Russia`s Chelyabinsk from July 27 to August 15.

The joint drills are not targeting any third party, and meant to strengthen cooperation between the two armed forces in military training, enhance their capability in coordinating military operations, so that they can play a positive role in safeguarding regional security and stability, Fang said.

Chinese official media has highlighted the exercises saying that it demonstrated that the two countries are closer military ties.

In a separate meeting with Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Fang said China, together with Russia, is willing to enhance high-level mutual visits, professional and personnel exchanges as well as joint exercises between the two armed forces, so as to push forward bilateral military ties, Fang said.
Shoigu, for his part, called for closer military exchanges and coordination between the two close neighbours and strategic partners in the context of new challenges facing regional and global peace and stability, the Xinhua report said.

China is wary of a US strategic re-balance in the Asia-Pacific where Washington has said it would commit 60 per cent of its naval forces by 2020, a shift of about eight warships from the current deployment.


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