WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- China has welcomed Russian troops for their joint strategic military drills next week.
- This will be the fourth joint training between the two countries — the previous three were held in Russia.
- Officials from both countries praised China-Russia relations as built on equality and mutual trust.
China and Russia are further strengthening their ties, with the People’s Republic hosting Russian troops for joint strategic military drills next week.
Chinese People’s Liberation Army Lieutenant General Liu Xiaowu, who will command Chinese forces in the upcoming exercise, warmly welcomed Russian officials over the weekend.
Liu referred to the event as “the first joint strategic exercise participated by Russian troops in China.”
Chinese and Russian troops have previously trained together, but those were held across different regions in Russia. These were the Vostok (East) 2018, Tsentr (Center) 2019, and Kavkaz (Caucasus) 2020 exercises.
The Zapad-Interaction (West-Interaction) drills are scheduled from August 9 to 13, and will most likely be held near the city of Qingtongxia in northwestern China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.
Around 10,000 personnel will train on various types of weaponry, equipment, vehicles, and aircraft from both countries. A joint command will plan and “conduct training in mixed combat groups, so as to improve the joint anti-terrorism capabilities of the troops.”
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Colonel-General Alexander Fomin described the Russian-Chinese military cooperation as having “high dynamics of development, consistent expansion of areas of interaction, and a great intensity of contacts,” having regularly held joint military training events.
He added, “China is one of the most active participants in the International Army Games.”
Those annual games are scheduled from August 22 to September 4. A separate contingent of Russian military personnel has already traveled to the three games’ location in Korla of China’s northwestern Xinjiang Autonomous Province, while Chinese troops also traveled to Russia, where some of the games will take place.
People’s Liberation Army Major General Kui Yanwei, China’s defense attache at the country’s embassy in Russia, remarked that through the leadership of Presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, “the Sino-Russian comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction in the new era has withstood the test of a pandemic and unprecedented changes in a century, reaching the highest level in all its history in all areas.”
He described the partnership as “an unshakable guarantee of world justice and a progressive force that contributes to world development and prosperity, firmly protecting world security and stability.”
The Sino-Russian Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation also held its 20th anniversary in July.
Xi and Putin declared that the countries’ relationship is “based on equality, deep mutual trust, commitment to international law, support in defending each other’s core interests, the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
“While not being a military and political alliance… the Russian-Chinese relations exceed this form of interstate interaction,” they declared. “They are not opportunistic, are free of ideologization, involve comprehensive consideration of the partner’s interests and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs… self-sufficient and not directed against third countries, they display international relations of a new type.”