Russia-China military cooperation ‘could worry Europe’

2018/09/017d3988-b755-11e8-b64d-19e275708746_1280x720_124715-1536902580.jpg
Read: 449     13:59     14 September 2018    

Russia's recent military exercises involving China, though focused on countering the United States, could raise security concerns among European nations, which are now watching to see how Beijing and Moscow might challenge other world powers, military experts have said.


The Vostok 2018 war games, Russia’s largest since 1981 in the Soviet era, involve more than 300,000 troops – including 3,200 from China and a contingent from Mongolia.

Chinese officials said that the focus of the drill expanded from anti-terrorism exercises in previous exercises to counter-attack manoeuvres, developing defence skills as well as building mutual trust with Russia.

“The drill has raised the capabilities of the military in both nations to handle security threats,” said Shao Yuanming, deputy chief of the joint staff department of the People’s Liberation Army on Wednesday. “This drill is also an important test of the combat abilities of our military.”

Featuring more than 36,000 Russian military vehicles and 1,000 Chinese vehicles, the exercises, which began on Tuesday and run until Saturday, are being conducted as relations between China and the United States fray, particularly over trade. Russia is also facing US and EU sanctions that have brought economic pressure and led to a devaluation of the rouble. 

Vostok 2018 has stirred serious concern in the United States and its Nato allies, particularly among Baltic nations previously within the Soviet sphere of influence, especially after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

“While security cooperation between China and Russia is gathering pace, particularly in recent years, such close ties could make some small countries nervous – especially those that see Russia’s military aggression as a threat,” one European diplomat based in Asia said.

Nato spokesman Dylan White said the Vostok 2018 drill – coinciding with Nato’s Rapid Trident 2018 military exercise in Ukraine, which began on September 3 and concludes on Saturday – Showed Russia is getting ready for large-scale conflict.

“It fits into a pattern we have seen over some time: a more assertive Russia, significantly increasing its defence budget and its military presence,” White said on Tuesday.

Jonathan Holslag, a professor of international politics at the Free University of Brussels, said that while there is no immediate worry about China and Russia exercising together, European policy circles are closely monitoring how Moscow and Beijing overcome their mutual distrust and deepen their military cooperation.

“The combination of the two countries, especially with Russia’s natural resources and China’s industrial prowess, would inevitably come as a big challenge to the West,” Holslag said.

In a further sign of closer ties between China and Russia, Chinese President Xi Jinping told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Tuesday that both nations have to oppose trade protectionism. Putin told Xi on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum, held in Vladivostok, Russia, that China and Russia have a relationship of trust “in the sphere of politics, security and defence”.

Alexander Gabuev, senior fellow at the Carnegie Moscow Centre, said that China and Russia’s growing relationship raised the danger of splitting the world between US-led democratic market economies and countries that view the US as a threat.

“The competition between world powers is revived and becomes more and more antagonistic,” Gabuev said. “It would remind you of the scenario before the first world war.”

South China Morning Post



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News Line

Russia-China military cooperation ‘could worry Europe’

2018/09/017d3988-b755-11e8-b64d-19e275708746_1280x720_124715-1536902580.jpg
Read: 450     13:59     14 September 2018    

Russia's recent military exercises involving China, though focused on countering the United States, could raise security concerns among European nations, which are now watching to see how Beijing and Moscow might challenge other world powers, military experts have said.


The Vostok 2018 war games, Russia’s largest since 1981 in the Soviet era, involve more than 300,000 troops – including 3,200 from China and a contingent from Mongolia.

Chinese officials said that the focus of the drill expanded from anti-terrorism exercises in previous exercises to counter-attack manoeuvres, developing defence skills as well as building mutual trust with Russia.

“The drill has raised the capabilities of the military in both nations to handle security threats,” said Shao Yuanming, deputy chief of the joint staff department of the People’s Liberation Army on Wednesday. “This drill is also an important test of the combat abilities of our military.”

Featuring more than 36,000 Russian military vehicles and 1,000 Chinese vehicles, the exercises, which began on Tuesday and run until Saturday, are being conducted as relations between China and the United States fray, particularly over trade. Russia is also facing US and EU sanctions that have brought economic pressure and led to a devaluation of the rouble. 

Vostok 2018 has stirred serious concern in the United States and its Nato allies, particularly among Baltic nations previously within the Soviet sphere of influence, especially after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

“While security cooperation between China and Russia is gathering pace, particularly in recent years, such close ties could make some small countries nervous – especially those that see Russia’s military aggression as a threat,” one European diplomat based in Asia said.

Nato spokesman Dylan White said the Vostok 2018 drill – coinciding with Nato’s Rapid Trident 2018 military exercise in Ukraine, which began on September 3 and concludes on Saturday – Showed Russia is getting ready for large-scale conflict.

“It fits into a pattern we have seen over some time: a more assertive Russia, significantly increasing its defence budget and its military presence,” White said on Tuesday.

Jonathan Holslag, a professor of international politics at the Free University of Brussels, said that while there is no immediate worry about China and Russia exercising together, European policy circles are closely monitoring how Moscow and Beijing overcome their mutual distrust and deepen their military cooperation.

“The combination of the two countries, especially with Russia’s natural resources and China’s industrial prowess, would inevitably come as a big challenge to the West,” Holslag said.

In a further sign of closer ties between China and Russia, Chinese President Xi Jinping told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Tuesday that both nations have to oppose trade protectionism. Putin told Xi on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum, held in Vladivostok, Russia, that China and Russia have a relationship of trust “in the sphere of politics, security and defence”.

Alexander Gabuev, senior fellow at the Carnegie Moscow Centre, said that China and Russia’s growing relationship raised the danger of splitting the world between US-led democratic market economies and countries that view the US as a threat.

“The competition between world powers is revived and becomes more and more antagonistic,” Gabuev said. “It would remind you of the scenario before the first world war.”

South China Morning Post



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