China and Russia pave way for naval exercise
Updated: 2015-05-12 07:42
By Zhao Shengnan(China Daily)
China and Russia held an opening ceremony on Monday for a joint naval exercise in the Mediterranean code-named "Joint Sea 2015-I".
The exercise is the farthest one that the Chinese navy has taken part in outside home waters and is the latest sign of close cooperation between the neighbors.
Nine ships from both countries are taking part, including China's Linyi and Weifang missile frigates and the supply ship Weishanhu, which has just concluded anti-piracy patrols off the coast of Somalia.
The ships, docked at the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk, will set sail for the Mediterranean on Tuesday night for the exercise from May 18 to 21, which will focus on navigational safety, said Dong Jun, the deputy chief of staff of the Chinese navy.
The exercise will involve maritime defense and replenishment, escort actions, operations to safeguard navigational security as well as a weapons drill, China National Radio quoted Dong as saying at the opening ceremony.
The Defense ministries in Beijing and Moscow said earlier that the exercise is not targeting any third party and is not related to the regional situation.
Observers said the vessels are drawn from the main forces of the two navies, and the exercise, which is defensive in nature, displays both countries' willingness to cooperate.