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Largest Chinese, Russian Joint Pacific Naval Exercise Kicks Off This Week

(150522) -- LINYI FLEET, May 22, 2015 (Xinhua) -- Photo taken on May 20, 2015 shows the China-Russia "Joint Sea-2015" drills. Chinese and Russian naval forces on Thursday ended their joint military exercises in the Mediterranean. The "Joint Sea-2015" drills, involving six Russian and three Chinese ships, were staged in four phases, focusing on maritime defense, replenishment and escorting. It was the fourth since joint China-Russia sea drills began in 2012. (Xinhua/Xiong Libing)

Chinese and Russian marines on May 20, 2015 during exercise Joint Sea 2015 in the Mediterranean Sea. Xinhua Photo

The navies of China and Russia will meet this week for the two countries largest ever naval exercise in the Pacific, according to state run media in both Russia and China.
Joint Sea 2015 II is set to start on Thursday and run until Aug. 28 in the Sea of Japan and off the coast of Vladivostok and will comprise of more than 20 ships from the Russian Navy and the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and includes a joint amphibious assault drill.

“A source close to the operation said navies of the two countries will join forces to simulate anti-submarine combat and air defense and other relevant missions. A joint beach landing of troops is also planned,” read a report in the Chinese state-controlled Xinhua news service.
“The source said the drills ‘are not targeted at any third party and are not relevant to regional status-quo’.”

The PLAN is sending seven ships — Type 051C Luzhou-class guided missile destroyer Shenyang (115), Russian-built Sovremennyy-class guided destroyer Taizhou (138), Type 54A Jiangkai II frigates Linyi (547) and Hengyang (568), Type 071 amphibious warship Changbaishan, Type 072A tank landing ship (LST) Yunwushan (997) and Type 903 fleet oiler Taihu.

China will also send six helicopters, five fixed wing planes and 200 marines. Russia will send two submarines, 12 fixed-wing aircraft and 16 surface ships, according to the Xinhua report.

Russian and Chinese ships in the Pacific in 2014. China Daily Photo

Russian and Chinese ships in the Pacific in 2014. China Daily Photo

The joint exercise will be the second joint drill between Russia and China this near following the first Joint Sea 2015 in the Mediterranean Sea in April. Ahead of the exercise two Chinese frigates visited the Russian Novorossiysk naval base in the Black Sea — a first for the PLAN.

In the last several years China and Russia have worked closer together through naval exercises that gave grown in size and complexity.

Late last year, following the announcement of the Joint Sea 2015 series, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the U.S. was a factor in China and Russia conducting more military-to-military exercises in the Pacific.

“We believe that the main goal of pooling our effort is to shape a collective regional security system,” Shoigu said in November.
“We also expressed concern over U.S. attempts to strengthen its military and political clout in the [Asia-Pacific Region].”

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Sam LaGrone

About Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He was formerly the U.S. Maritime Correspondent for the Washington D.C. bureau of Jane’s Defence Weekly and Jane’s Navy International. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.