Six Russian and three Chinese naval ships will meet in the Mediterranean next month to conduct a series of surface exercises to include live fire drills, the Chinese Ministry of National Defense said on Thursday.
Joint Sea 2015-I will be the first time the two navies have trained in the Mediterranean and is a sign of deepening military-to-military cooperation between Russia and China.
“The purpose of the exercise is to strengthen the pragmatic cooperation between China and Russia and to improve the capabilities of the two navies to deal with maritime threats,” said ministry spokesman Senior Colonel Geng Yansheng on Thursday.
“What needs to be stressed is that, the joint exercise is not targeting any third party and not related to the regional situation.”
The exercises were announced in November following a meeting between Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan in Beijing.
Following the meeting, Shoigu said U.S. rebalance to the Pacific was a primary concern of both countries.
“We believe that the main goal of pooling our effort is to shape a collective regional security system,” according to the Russian TASS news agency.
“We also expressed concern over U.S. attempts to strengthen its military and political clout in the [Asia-Pacific Region].”