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Sunday, September 11, 2016, 15:50

Navy drill highlights strong ties

By An Baijie in Zhanjiang, Guangdong

Navy drill highlights strong ties
This May 26, 2014 photo shows Russian guided missile cruiser Varyag, the flagship of Russia's Pacific fleet, berths in a port in Shanghai on May 26, 2014, after taking part in a joint military drill with China. A China-Russia eight-day Navy drill will begin in the South China Sea off southern China's Guangdong Province on Sept 12, 2016. (Photo / AFP)

China and Russia will start an eight-day joint naval exercise from Monday, which for the first time will take place in the South China Sea, according to a Chinese navy spokesman.

The drill, "Joint Sea-2016", will feature naval surface ships, submarines, fixed-wing aircraft, ship-borne helicopters marine corps and amphibious armored equipment from both navies, spokesman Liang Yang said on Sunday.

The naval exercise will be held in the eastern waters of Zhanjiang, the southernmost city of Guangdong province, where the Nanhai Fleet under the People's Liberation Army Navy is headquartered.

Most of the Chinese participants will come from the Nanhai Fleet. The exercise will be commanded by Rear Admiral Yu Manjiang, vice-commander of the Nanhai Fleet.

The annual China-Russia joint naval exercise is the fifth between the two sides since 2012.

Chinese and Russian naval forces will undertake defense, rescue, and anti-submarine operations, in addition to joint-island seizing missions and other activities, said Liang, the navy spokesman.

Liang said the drill, from Sept 12-19, is part of an annual program, which aims to consolidate and advance the Sino-Russian comprehensive strategic partnership, and deepen friendly and practical cooperation between the two militaries.

Yang Yujun, spokesman of Chinese Defense Ministry, said in July that the drill "does not target any third party".

Vladimir Matveyev, the chief press officer of Eastern Military District for the Pacific Fleet of Russia, told TASS news agency late last month that the Russian anti-submarine ships Admiral Tributs and Admiral Vinogradov, the amphibious ship Peresvet, the towboat Alatau, and the tanker Pechenga will take part in the drill.

Yin Zhuo, director of the PLA Navy's Expert Consultation Committee, said that dispatching large anti-submarine ships shows that the Russian navy attaches great importance to the joint exercise with China.

anbaijie@chinadaily.com.cn

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