Russian military exercises currently underway in Eastern Europe are getting close attention from the United States and its allies. NATO officials say as many as 100,000 troops are taking part. Russian authorities say the numbers are much smaller, and they accuse the west of “whipping up hysteria” about the maneuvers. Closer to Hawai‘i, there’s another set of military exercises starting next week involving Russia and China. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.
It’s not unusual for Russia and China to conduct joint naval exercises. They’ve done it eight times over the past six years.
Russia’s defense ministry says the next round will start Monday in Vladivostok—less than a hundred miles from the border with North Korea.
That makes these drills timely, not only given North Korea’s latest missile launch over Japan, but also with the most recent set of trade sanctions against Pyongyang—passed Monday by the United Nations Security Council.
Russia and China worked together to insure those sanctions included only a reduction of oil exports to North Korea, and not an outright ban as desired by the United States, Japan and South Korea.
China’s Xinhua News Agency reports the navies of Russia and China will also be working together in the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk—north of the Japanese island of Hokkaido.
Xinhua says it’s the first time the Chinese navy will be conducting drills in that area.
From the Chinese side, the exercises will include a missile destroyer, a missile frigate, shipborne helicopters and a submarine rescue vessel.
Submarine rescue and anti-submarine drills will be part of the maneuvers—which will last about a week.