Russia and China launch large naval drills

Monday, 12 September, 2016 - 11:15

China and Russia have launched eight-day joint naval wargames in the disputed South China Sea amid tensions which the US which is expanding its military presence in the region.

The "Joint Sea-2016" maneuvers kicked off on Monday with the participation of 21 aircraft and 18 ships from both sides including destroyers, cruisers, amphibious warfare ships and supply vessels.

In a statement, the Chinese navy said the exercises will be conducted in an area off China’s southeastern province of Guangdong.

Participating units will be carrying out defense, rescue, and anti-submarine operations, as well as “island seizing” and other activities, it said.

The maneuvers have been described as “the largest operation ever” conducted jointly by the two countries.

Joint Chinese-Russian drills have grown increasingly common in recent years and this week's exercises are the fifth between the two navies since 2012.