In the wake of the ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague purporting to decide the South China Sea dispute between China and the Philippines in the Philippines’ favour, the Chinese – Russian alliance, whose very existence some people continue to deny, has bared its teeth. This has taken the form of the announcement of joint Chinese – Russian naval exercises in September in the South China Sea.
The announcement was made in Beijing and came with the usual assurances that the exercises are routine and are not aimed at any third party. No-one should take those assurances seriously. All the indications are that the exercises were hurriedly agreed by Beijing and Moscow in response to The Hague ruling. By agreeing to participate in the exercises Russia is demonstrating in the most emphatic way possible its unequivocal support for China in the dispute. As for the party against whom the exercises are aimed – or to be more precise against whom they are intended as a signal – that party is of course the US, who the Chinese suspect (correctly) of being the party that was ultimately responsible for the case in The Hague being brought at all.…
The two countries have never before made their mutual military support for each other in a dispute with the US quite so obvious. It is almost certainly no coincidence that the Russian media has been giving heavy publicity over the last few weeks to the participation of a Chinese army contingent in the International Army Games hosted by Russia, which began on 30th July 2016. It is probably now only a question of time before Chinese army units undertake joint military exercises with the Russian army in the European territory of the Russian Federation (joint exercises by the Chinese and Russian militaries in Central Asia and the Far East now happen regularly).The Duran
Tensions rising: Russia joins South China Sea dispute as Chinese ally, plan joint naval exercises
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