Royal Navy Scrambles to Shadow Chinese Warships In English Channel As They Head to Baltics for First War Games with Russia (excerpt)
(Source: Telegraph online; posted July 19, 2017)
By Neil Connor
In a few short years, the Chinese navy has made a remarkable transformation from a coastal, brown-water navy into a global force, and the sight of Chinese warships sailing in the English Channel is likely to become routine. (Twitter photo)
BEIJING --- The Royal Navy scrambled a warship to shadow a Chinese flotilla as it steamed through the English Channel on route to meet Russian vessels for manoeuvres in the Baltic Sea.

The trio of Chinese warships passed through the Strait of Dover under the watch of the HMS Richmond, a Type 23 frigate, at the weekend.

They then headed across the North Sea, where they were spotted being escorted by Dutch vessels earlier this week ahead of manoeuvres with Vladimir Putin’s navy which begin on Friday.

Professor Ni Lexiong, a Shanghai-based military expert, told The Telegraph the Baltic Sea drills were aimed at Nato, but were being carried out in response to drills that were recently staged by the US, India and Japan in the Indian Ocean, which were directed towards China.

“China and Russia have pledged to enhance their strategic relationship by regularly staging military drills,” said Prof Ni, director of the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law’s Sea Power and Defence Policy Research Institute.

“China also has its own plans,” he added. “Which is to show the world that it is a major naval power.”

A Chinese naval fleet held a military exercise with the Russian navy in St Petersburg and Kaliningrad last month. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Telegraph website.


PLA Navy Ships to Enter Baltic Sea for First Time for Exercises
(Source: Global Times; published July 19, 2017)
Chinese navy ships will enter the Baltic Sea on Friday for the first time to hold joint exercises with Russia, amid Western suspicions over the exercises' purpose.

A Chinese expert said the drills are meant to help both sides better protect cargo vessels in different waters along with the development of the Belt and Road initiative.

The first stage of Joint Sea-2017 will be held from July 21 to 28 in the Baltic Sea, Russian news agency Sputnik reported Tuesday, citing the Russian Defense Ministry.

Nearly 10 ships, over 10 aircraft and helicopters from the Russian and Chinese navy will join the exercises in the first phase, Sputnik said.

China's most advanced guided-missile destroyer, the 052D, which is equipped with phased array radar and a vertical launching system, will also participate in the drills.

"This is the Chinese navy's first time to enter the Baltic Sea, a high-latitude sea," Li Jie, a Beijing-based naval expert, told the Global Times, adding that the drills will help China manage maritime threats in the future.

The Baltic Sea is a significant maritime trade route between Russia and Europe, with possible confrontations among countries, such as the US and Russia, Li said. He noted that Russia had shifted its attention from Europe to the Asia-Pacific region in recent years from US pressure, and it wants to use the region as a breakthrough to deal with the US.

Jens Stoltenberg, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) secretary general, said in June that NATO would closely monitor Russia's military exercises close to the Baltic countries' border, calling for transparency in the joint China-Russia drills and joint drills between Russia and Belarus in September.

However, Li stressed that the Baltic Sea drills between China and Russia are meant to help them deal with possible threats, protect ships and cargo in waters in the future with the development of the Belt and Road initiative as well as the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

China and Russia have held joint drills every year since 2012. The Chinese Ministry of National Defense said that this year's exercises will focus on joint rescue efforts and protecting cargo vessels.


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