For the first time ever, China and Russia will conduct a naval exercise together in the Mediterranean Sea. It is intended to become an annual exchange plan, said a spokesperson for the Chinese military.
In a news briefing on Thursday (April 30), Speaking for the Ministry of National Defense (MND) of the People’s Republic of China, spokesperson Sr. Col. Geng Yansheng confirmed “the navies of the two countries are going to conduct a joint exercise code-named “Joint Sea 2015-I” in the waters of the Mediterranean in mid-May.”
“Nine surface ships from the Chinese and Russian navies will take part in the joint exercise,” he said. “China will send three ships of 19th Chinese naval escort task force to take part in the joint exercise. The three ships… have just completed their escort mission in the Gulf of Aden and waters off the Somali coast.”
The exercise is designed to hone the skills of naval personnel in “protection of navigation safety in the far seas,” he said.
It is also intended to “strengthen the pragmatic cooperation between China and Russia and to improve the capabilities of the two navies to deal with maritime threats. What needs to be stressed is that the joint exercise is not targeting any third party and not related to the regional situation,” he underlined.
Russia has continued to arm both Iran and Syria. Both in turn arm Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorists in the north, who have ties to the Iranian-backed Hamas terrorists within and south of Israel. Despite Israel’s warming diplomatic relationship with China, this exercise may also signal a new direction for the People’s Republic — a concern the spokesperson clearly attempted to allay.
Israel is maintaining a number of natural gas reserve fields in the Mediterranean waters off its northern coast. To its south, its own navy is on constant alert to prevent Iranian-backed terrorists from smuggling weaponry and other contraband to terrorists in Gaza who hope to annihilate the Jewish State.
Other nations who may be affected by this exercise include Turkey, Lebanon, Greece, Crete and Cyprus — all with interests in the gas fields and all of which have either been launching pads or port stops for Hamas “humanitarian” terror flotillas in the past.