China is showing its growing ability to extend force around the world as three of its warships was ready to join military exercises with its close partner.
Naval exercise with Russia in the Baltic Sea is China’s first engagement in European waters. The drills, which are a sign of both growing reach of the Chinese military and closer relations between Moscow and Beijing, will start this coming week at Russian Waters which boosted alarm in European Nations and Washington.
China’s Global Times newspaper described that China’s plan of sending its warships to the Baltic Sea is straightforward — boosting the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership. If any third party is unfriendly towards China and Russia, they will feel the invisible pressure of some sort.
Song Zhongping said China’s naval forces would protect the country’s overseas businesses, “especially” President Xi Jinping’s improvement program, known as the Belt and Road Initiative. He said while Russia must counter containment attempts by NATO and the US, China is under pressure from countries backed by Washington.
The second phase of the wargames will be in September; the Chinese navy will participate Russian warships in the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk.
Some NATO allies think that the Russian exercise could number more than 100,000 troops and involve nuclear weapons training, the biggest such exercise since 2013.
US Army Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, who manages US Army forces in Europe, told Reuters that allies are also worried that the maneuvers could be a “Trojan horse,” in which Russia would leave equipment behind.