China, Russia to hold joint naval drills in South China Sea

China and Russia will hold naval drills in the South China Sea in September, the Chinese Defence Ministry told a news conference on Thursday, adding these are designed to strengthen cooperation between the two countries and were not aimed at raising tensions.

“The drill, code named Joint Sea-2016, is a product of the consensus reached by the two sides,” Xinhua news agency quoted China’s Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun as saying.

“These drills are not targeted against any specific country. The main thing is to develop a common military response with our close neighbour against any threat,” Russian Deputy Commander Sergey Vertepa told RT.

The dispute over the South China Sea, which includes the Spratly and the Paracel Islands, involves rival territorial claims from China, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan. China also has territorial disputes in the region with Malaysia and Brunei.

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