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Are Russia And China Forming a Military Alliance?

Derek Wolfe

Updated: September 1, 2022

russia china military alliance
Editor’s Note:

EDITOR'S NOTE: Russia just announced last Monday that it will be joining China, Syria, India, Laos, Mongolia, Nicaragua, and other former Soviet nations in a large-scale military exercise in Russia’s far east and the Sea of Japan from September 1 to 7. This combined show of force, one to take place just weeks after announcing a new BRICS reserve currency, aims to destabilize what Russia describes as a “unipolar” world centered on US (military and economic) hegemony. At the very least, this move sends a very clear message to the West and the US that the global polarity has shifted, and that the global economy is now bifurcating into two main regions of power from which non-allied countries may one day have to choose sides. It’s also a warning to the US that American military and economic might is no longer the biggest nor strongest player in town, and that what was once "competition" has now escalated into a legitimate and possibly existential threat.

Russia said Monday it will launch sweeping military drills in the country’s east that will involve forces from China — a show of increasingly close defense ties between Moscow and Beijing amid tensions with the West over the Kremlin’s action in Ukraine.

The Russian Defense Ministry said that the Vostok 2022 (East 2022) exercise will be held Sept. 1-7 in various locations in Russia’s Far East and the Sea of Japan and involve more than 50,000 troops, over 5,000 weapons units, including 140 aircraft and 60 warships.

The ministry released a video of Chinese troops arriving in Russia in preparation for the exercise.

See: Putin blasts U.S. ‘hegemony’ and predicts end to ‘unipolar’ world

The drills will be conducted at seven firing ranges in far eastern Russia and will engage troops from several former Soviet republics along with China, India, Laos, Mongolia, Nicaragua and Syria.

The ministry said that units of Russian Airborne troops, long-range bombers and military cargo planes will take part in the drills along with other forces.

While first announcing the exercise last month, the Russian military emphasized that it’s part of planned combat training that is continuing despite Moscow’s military action in Ukraine. It hasn’t disclosed the number of troops engaged in what the Kremlin calls the “special military operation” there.

The ministry noted that as part of the maneuvers, the Russian and Chinese navies in the Sea of Japan will “practice joint action to protect sea communications, areas of marine economic activity and support for ground troops in littoral areas.”

From the archives (March 2022): Biden warns Xi of ‘consequences’ if China aids Russia amid Putin’s war on Ukraine

Opinion (March 2022): George Soros: Make no mistake, Putin and Xi are putting the world at risk of complete destruction

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Fomin specified that the naval drills would take part in the northern and central part of the Sea of Japan. “The exercise isn’t directed against any specific countries or military alliances and is purely defensive,” Fomin said at a meeting with foreign military attaches.

The drills reflect increasing defense ties between Moscow and Beijing, which have grown stronger since Russia sent its troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24. China has pointedly refused to criticize Russia’s action, blaming the U.S. and NATO for provoking Moscow, and has blasted punishing sanctions imposed on Moscow.

Russia, in turn, has strongly backed China amid the tensions with the U.S. that followed a recent visit to Taiwan by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Speaking earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin drew parallels between U.S. support for Ukraine and Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, charging that both were part of alleged American efforts to foment global instability.

Russia and China have held a series of joint war games in recent years, including naval drills and patrols by long-range bombers over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea. Last year, Russian troops for the first time deployed to Chinese territory for joint maneuvers.

See: Blinken calls China’s military drills a ‘significant escalation’

Also: Why China-Taiwan tensions moved to the forefront of financial market worries

Plus: China halts U.S. climate-change talks after Pelosi’s Taiwan visit — 5 things to know

Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping have developed strong personal ties to bolster a “strategic partnership” between the former communist rivals as both Moscow and Beijing face increasing tensions with the West.

Even though Moscow and Beijing in the past rejected the possibility of forging a military alliance, Putin has said that such a prospect can’t be ruled out. He also has noted that Russia has been sharing highly sensitive military technologies with China that helped significantly bolster its defense capability.

While first announcing the drills last month, the Russian Defense Ministry emphasized that it’s part of planned combat training that is continuing despite Moscow’s military action in Ukraine. It hasn’t disclosed the number of troops engaged in what the Kremlin calls the “special military operation” there.

Opinion (January 2022): Trump negotiated a bad China deal. It has expired — and yet, perplexingly, Biden isn’t abandoning it

Also see (June 2020): Trump asked China’s Xi to buy U.S. farm products to help him win re-election, Bolton book says | Bolton book adds urgency to Trump bid to depict himself as a China hawk and to paint Biden as a Beijing apologist

Originally published on Market Watch.

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