China announced on Wednesday (17) its military will participate in a joint military exercise with Russia called Vostok.
At the beginning of August, there was a great controversy involving the United States and China. Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, visited Taiwan, which upset the Chinese government, which considers Taiwan part of its own territory.
China’s participation in the exercises “is unrelated to the current international and regional situation,” the country’s Defense Ministry said.
- What does China say about its participation in military exercises in Russia?
- Why did China carry out military exercises after Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan?
- How do military exercises in Russia relate to the war in Ukraine?
- How does China position itself in relation to the Ukraine war?
- How were the last joint exercises?
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet bilaterally in February 2022, days before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. — Photo: Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik/Pool via AP
What does China say about its participation in military exercises in Russia?
China’s exercises in Russia are part of an annual bilateral cooperation agreement, according to the Chinese Ministry of Defense, and other years have already been.
“The objective is to deepen practical and friendly cooperation with the armies of participating countries, increase the level of strategic collaboration between the parties and strengthen the ability to respond to various security threats,” the ministry said in a statement.
In addition to Chinese soldiers, troops from India, Belarus and Tajikistan will also participate in the exercises, which will take place between August 30 and September 5.
Why did China carry out military exercises after Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan?
China conducts missile-firing exercises off Taiwan’s east coast
On Aug. 4, the Chinese military carried out the biggest military exercises with live ammunition ever held around Taiwan, Chinese state television CCTV reported.
Taiwan’s government confirmed the exercises, and said Beijing had launched 11 ballistic missiles near the island. Taipei also said that Chinese naval ships and military aircraft came to cross, for a few moments, the median line of the Taiwan Strait, the marking that separates the two countries.
The exercises were China’s response to US congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. The trip, which took less than 24 hours, infuriated Beijing, which considers the island part of its territory.
In one incident, five of the 11 ballistic missiles launched by China hit the Sea of Japan.
How do military exercises in Russia relate to the war in Ukraine?
Russia invaded Ukrainian territory on February 24 this year. China’s government has remained neutral on the conflict, unlike Western countries, which have criticized the Russian action and imposed sanctions.
Exercise Vostok is held in eastern Russia, and the Ukrainian front is on the other side of the country. Apparently, the Russians intend to signal that the country remains focused on defending its entire territory and is still capable, in military terms, of carrying out its routine activities.
But that can be difficult given the losses of men and equipment in Ukraine (including troops and equipment sent there from the eastern military district, where the war games will take place).
Mathieu Boulegue, a military expert at London’s Chatham House think tank, says many troops and equipment from the eastern military district have been employed and lost or killed in Ukraine since February.
In a statement, the Defense Ministry emphasized that its ability to carry out these exercises was not affected by the war (the Russians use the expression “special military operation” in Ukraine).
He said that Russia has not canceled any training activities or international cooperation, and that the exercises will be attended by all necessary personnel, weapons and equipment.
“We draw your attention to the fact that only a part of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation is involved in the special military operation (in Ukraine), the number of which is sufficient to fulfill all the tasks set by the Supreme Commander-in-Chief,” the statement reads.
How does China position itself in relation to the Ukraine war?
Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, China has shown support, albeit restrained, to Russia, a great ally of the Asian country in the current world geopolitics. In June, Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke on the phone with the Russian leader, in a clear message of support for Russia’s attacks on Ukrainian territory.
Beijing also rejected calls from the international community to condemn the Russian invasion of the neighboring country.
How were the last Vostok military exercises?
The last large-scale exercises called Vostok took place in 2018, and nearly 300,000 soldiers were involved; that year, the Chinese army participated for the first time.
Chinese participation this year is an indication of how bilateral relations are going, as Vladimir Putin tries to please the Chinese government — Russia has been sanctioned by Western countries and lost markets; to compensate, it had to rely more on China.