China’s defense ministry on Thursday unveiled that the PLA military is set to host major joint military drills with Russia in early August – to include more than 10,000 troops from both countries in China’s Ningxia Hui autonomous region, in the north-central part of the country.
“The purpose of this exercise is to consolidate and develop a comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation between China and Russia,” defense ministry spokesman Wu Qian announced in a press briefing.
At a moment both countries are experiencing deteriorating relations with the United States, including Beijing increasingly in a sanctions tit-for-tat battle with Washington over Hong Kong, the spokesman additionally said, “It will also further demonstrate the determination and ability of both sides to combat terrorist forces and jointly maintain regional peace and security.”
Russia for its part is currently in a standoff with the US over cyberattack allegations and threats. President Biden actually said in a speech this week that potentially a future cyberattack scenario couple end up in a “real shooting war with a major power.” No doubt, he had primarily Russia and China in mind.
Further details of the August war games in China were detailed in South China Morning Post as follows:
Wu said Chinese troops will come mostly from the Western Theatre Command, China’s largest military area, which oversees regions including Xinjiang and Tibet. Russian troops will be from the Eastern Military District. A joint command center will be established and exercises will focus on aircraft, artillery and armored equipment. There will also be training to improve joint reconnaissance, early warnings, electronic and information attacks and joint strikes.
It’s only been within the past few years that historically cold and tense China-Russia relations have warmed as both found themselves under the eye of a common enemy, resulting in recent joint war games unprecedented in size.
President Joe Biden warned that a significant cyber attack on the United States could lead to ‘a real shooting war’ with a 'major power,' highlighting what Washington sees as growing threats posed by Russia and China https://t.co/RmAW2Ig0YY pic.twitter.com/yk4fiR2VuT
— Reuters (@Reuters) July 28, 2021
Beijing also has likely timed these hugely provocative games, which will be watched by the Pentagon closely, as a “message” and warning to the Western military build up in the South China Sea, and as the US and Japan are more openly pushing the Taiwan independence issue. Britain also has a pair of warships currently in the South China Sea, ultimately en route to Japan where they will maintain a ‘permanent’ presence as a rapid response and ostensibly ‘counterterror’ force.