Russia and China challenge NATO in the Baltic sea

In late July, China and Russia will hold joint military exercises off the coast of St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad. For the first time the Chinese Navy will join the Russian in the Baltic States. The exercises will be held later visit Donald trump in Poland and after the G20 summit in Hamburg, which is scheduled for early July.

On Sunday the Chinese flotilla from the destroyer “Changsha”, frigate “Yuncheng” and support vessel “Loomah” took a course on the Baltic sea, where it expects the Baltic fleet to participate in military exercises: they will be held in late July off the coast of St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad. As noted published this post, the state news Agency Xinhua, the exercises are intended “to strengthen and expand the strategic partnership and coordination between China and Russia, and to deepen the friendship and substantive cooperation between the two armies.”

Although Beijing and Moscow have repeatedly conducted joint military exercises (they have become commonplace since the beginning of 2000-ies), in the Baltic States they first appear. And the time was chosen not by chance: the Russian-Chinese parade will be held just a few days after the scheduled early July visit of U.S. President Donald trump in Poland (on the Baltic sea and is a member of NATO) and of the G20 summit in Hamburg.

Considers the military expert and the Deputy Director located in Moscow Franco-Russian center “Observo” Igor Delanoe, the venue was chosen for a reason: “we are Talking about naval diplomacy. These Russian-Chinese exercises are part of the dual speakers. First of all, we are talking about the strengthening of bilateral ties in 2014, following the Ukrainian crisis. Then, in naval terms, Russia and China have conducted a series of exercises that are designed to support their positions on major international issues”.

Territorial disputes

So in may 2015, that is in the midst of the Syrian crisis, we have witnessed the joint exercises in the Mediterranean sea, then Chinese ships went to the Russian black sea ports. In September 2016, Russia has sent their vessels in bilateral exercises in the South China sea in the background, as the Permanent court of arbitration in the Hague a few weeks earlier rejected territorial claims of Beijing in this area. “Baltic States — a focus of tension between NATO and Russia in 2014 — continues to Igor Delanoe. Although Moscow and Beijing are not facing each other, China wants to show some solidarity with Russia in the disputed area”.

This is also the opinion of an expert on relations between Russia and Asia Alexander Gabuev of the Moscow Carnegie Center: “These exercises in the Baltic sea, i.e. at the door of Europe, carry a political message Trump and NATO: Russia and China to support and protect each other”. Though there are nuances: “Russia and China are two great powers who have their own territorial disputes with its neighbors. That is, to hold military exercises outside sensitive areas would be very difficult.”

The exercises will be the first sail abroad for the destroyer “Changsha”. As claimed by state media, he is “one of the best destroyers in the world” and equipped with the latest technology of the Chinese Navy. “This destroyer type 02D is the fruit of efforts by China to formation of an ocean-going fleet. It is the largest surface ship of the Chinese Navy, not counting the aircraft carrier. This multi-purpose destroyer is kind of the equivalent of the American ships of the “Arleigh Burke”. The Chinese developed this type of destroyer with virtually no foreign assistance,” — said Igor Delanoe.