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China, Russia, former Cold War rivals, hold naval drills together

China and Russia kicked off their largest-ever joint naval drills on Friday in the Sea of Japan, a further sign of the broad-based progress in ties between the former Cold War rivals.

Eighteen surface ships, one submarine, three airplanes, five ship-launched helicopters and two commando units were taking part in the ‘ Joint Sea-2013’ exercise that runs through 12 July. The drills will cover anti-submarine warfare, close maneuvering, and the simulated take-over of an enemy ship.

The drills are considerably bigger than anything China’s navy has previously held with a foreign partner. China’s increasingly formidable navy is contributing four destroyers, two latest-generation guided missile frigates and a support ship, all of which sailed Monday from the port of Qingdao, where China’s Northern Fleet is based, to the rallying point in Peter the Great Bay near Vladivostok.

‘This is our strongest line-up ever in a joint naval drill,’ Rear Admiral Yang Junfei, commander of the Chinese contingent, was quoted as saying by state media. China has long been a key customer for Russian military hardware. 
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