EVER CLOSER RUSSO-CHINESE MILITARY COOPERATION




Robert HARNEIS -TDO- (FRANCE) - Following the release of a new defense "white paper", China has made it clear that it intends stepping up military cooperation with Russia. At the same time the Chinese government accused the U.S. of undermining regional stability. The white paper claimed that the Sino-Russian military relationship plays “a significant role in maintaining global strategic stability”. According to The Washington Post, Chinese army officials also have repeatedly warned that Beijing would be willing to use military force to assert its claims over Taiwan.

Russian and Chinese bombers conducted their first ever jointlong-range air patrol in the Asia-Pacific on July 23. Russia’s Defense Ministry said there had been “no violations of airspaces of foreign countries”. However, South Korean fighter jets fired over 300 warning shots at one of the Russian planes participating in the joint patrol after, as Seoul claims, it twice violated South Korea’s airspace above the Sea of Japan.

Amid a deepening rift between the United States and Russia about the role of non-strategic nuclear weapons, Russia has also begun to upgrade an air force nuclear-weapons storage site near Tver, some 90 miles northeast of Moscow, according to the Federation of American Scientists. There are also important upgrades underway at the Mozhaysk-10 storage site about 70 miles west of Moscow.

Moscow also says that the first-ever joint patrol of the long-range aircraft in the Pacific was the beginning of a wider program, which aims to boost the Russian and Chinese militaries’ ability to work together, and the planned program stretches at least for the remainder of the year.

The Chinese Defense Ministry’s official spokesman, Colonel Wu Qian, said on Wednesday: “I would like to reiterate that China and Russia are engaged in all-encompassing strategic coordination. This patrol mission was among the areas of cooperation and was carried out within the framework of the annual plan of cooperation between the defense agencies of the two states. It was not directed against any other ‘third state.’

“As far as the practice of joint strategic patrols is concerned, both sides will make a decision on the matter on the basis of bilateral consultations. Under the strategic command of the heads of states, the armed forces of the two nations will continue developing their relations. The sides will support each other, respect mutual interests and develop corresponding mechanisms of cooperation.”

According to a Russian Defense Ministry statement, the air patrol was undertaken on the “planned route over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea.” It said the joint air patrol was intended to strengthen Russian-Chinese relations and raise the level of interaction between the armed forces of both countries, in particular, to expand their capabilities for joint operations.

The Russian statement said that another goal of the joint patrol is “strengthening global strategic stability.”

The move comes barely two months after the release of the Pentagon’s Indo-Pacific Strategy Report, which spelled out America’s dual containment strategy against China described as “a Revisionist Power” and Russia as “a Revitalized Malign Actor”.