31 July 2018

Russia and China- common naval exercises

Monitorul Apărării şi Securităţii

A meeting between the Chinese naval forces commander, Vice-admiral Shen Jinlong and the Russian commander of the North Sea fleet, Vice-admiral Nikolai Yevmenov, about the bilateral cooperation took place on 30th of July, at the principal naval base of the North Sea Fleet in Severomorsk.

Image source: Flota Mării Nordului

In the press release offered by the North Sea’s Fleet, after the so-called “work visit”, it is mentioned that the “parts discussed a series of subjects regarding the answer at the threats coming from the Planetary Ocean and possible cooperation forms for consolidating the maritime security”, without specifying anything about the exercise the naval forces from the two states will participate at.

In June 2018, the Centre for International Maritime Security published an analyze (author David Scott) regarding the maritime cooperation of both big powers. According to this, the common objectives against the U.S.’s domination, gets Russia and China closer.[1]

Through the common Russian-Chinese Pledge regarding a multi-polar world and establishing a new international order, adopted in Moscow on 23th of April 1997, the two parts, Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China, proposed to develop a partnership based on equality and mutual trust to promote world’s multi-polarization and the creation of a new world order.[2]

After this statement, was signed a “Treaty of good-neighborliness and friendly cooperation”, in 2001 and the proclamation of a “strategic partnership”. The common military exercises were initiated in 2005, and starting with 2012 were deployed common naval exercises.

Russian’s Federation Maritime Doctrine, which appeared in 2015, calls for Russia’s position as big maritime power being one of the most important objectives, and the maritime forces as an external policy instrument, the naval activities being considered as high state priorities. The same doctrine offers the Russian naval forces a global mission: “The Naval Forces Actions have the purpose to assure the protection of Russia’s Federation national interests and its allies on the Planetary Ocean through military methods, maintaining the military and politic stability at a global and regional level […] assures the naval presence of the Russian Federation; presents the flag and shows Russian’s military capacities in the Planetary Ocean.”

Also, the Russian Federation identifies the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, Artic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Antarctica and Caspian Sea as priority regions of the national maritime policy.

Regarding China, in the White Cart of Defence from 2013, announced its intention to accelerate the naval forces modernization to be able to deploy big operations at long distance, by developing submarines capabilities, the endowment with new warships and frigates, plus other naval fight capabilities.

Alike Russia, China accelerated the construction program of the fight ships, including the aircraft carrier construction. China is the third naval power in the world, meanwhile Russia is the second after the U.S.

The effective cooperation in the maritime domain between Russia and China, by deploying common naval exercises at a large scale, started in 2012. The deployment areas of these activities were very different, each of the two states hosting exercises in different oceans and seas.

Russia organized exercises in the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea (2015), in Baltic Sea (2017) and Okhotsk Sea – Kurile Islands area- (2017). China organized common naval exercises in Yellow Sea (2012), East China Sea (2013) and South China Sea (2016). Other exercises were organized in areas of common interest, as: Japan’s Sea (2013, 2015 and 2017).

The common exercise in 2018 was planned to be deployed in the Yellow Sea, to enclose the exercises circle started in 2012.

Considering the competition between the two big powers, competition that intensifies each day, China represents the main challenge on long term for the U.S., meanwhile the Russian Federation is an “existential” threat- as Admiral Harry Harris called it, ex commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command- for the U.S. This competition puts China and Russia together as politic partners and this is reflected in the bilateral cooperation intensification in the naval forces domain. This type of cooperation can offer each part implicit support in the geopolitical interest areas.[3]

[1] http://cimsec.org/russia-china-naval-cooperation-in-an-era-of-great-power-competition/36773

[3] http://cimsec.org/russia-china-naval-cooperation-in-an-era-of-great-power-competition/36773