The Russian-Chinese navy exercises codenamed "Sea cooperation - 2016" which took place in the South China Sea have finished.

General details

The exercises were participated in by two submarines, 20 surface ships, 20 aircraft and helicopters, more than 250 marines, and 12 armored personnel carriers and armored amphibious vehicles. The Russian Pacific Fleet was represented by the large anti-submarine ships "Admiral Tributs” and "Admiral Vinogradov", the large landing ship "Relight", the sea tugboat “Alatau", and tanker "Pechenga".

During the exercises, various operations were carried out, including an amphibious landing on the shore.

During the closing ceremony, Vice Admiral of the Russian Navy Alexander Fedotenkov said he was satisfied with the results. "Sailors have shown the ability to be one step ahead of threats that occur in the ocean," - he said, adding that Russian exercises have never been directed "against any third country."

The view from the West

However, the fact that the exercises were held in the South China Sea in China’s territorial waters off the coast of Guangdong province is regarded by the West as a demonstration of support for Beijing on the issue of disputed territories, and thus disregards the decision of the International Court, which sided with the Philippines and Vietnam. In addition, US analysts see all Russia's actions in a Cold War context. They associate exercises with the situation in the South China Sea and China’s desire to gain a foothold there, as well as activity in the East China Sea, where China has territory disputed by Japan - just like Russia does.

The view from the East

In addition, the exercises took place against the backdrop of another round of tension in Japan, where, yesterday, there were mass demonstrations against the adoption of amendments to the law on joint defense, according to which Japan should fully serve the US military, and not only in the Pacific region. The Japanese government plans to send a contingent to Sudan, where it will join forces with the United States.

Past Russian and Chinese exercises were used by Washington as an argument to sign in advance the amendments that are waiting for ratification for a little more than a year. Similarly, the North Korean tests become a pretext, although not the real cause for the placement of the US missile defense system in South Korea.

Russian threat or lack of funding?

Despite the fact that the drills were announced in advance, NATO leaders once again called them “sudden” and did not forget to comment on their mass scale. NATO is rapidly losing confidence in the European Union, which is going to create its own army and is trying to somehow impose itself on the EU, which, in turn, is also in a critical situation.

Against this background, several European countries have released policy briefs and reports dedicated to the "Russian threat", among them Sweden, whose “data” on the nature of the "threat" is so secret that it is not known. The UK also suffers from Russophobia. A report prepared for the UK Minister of Defense said that the British army would not be able to resist the “Russian threat” in the event of armed clashes. The ten-page document provides an array of arguments, which boil down to the conclusion that the ministry does not have enough funding.