The Chinese and Russian navies have conducted new joint maritime operations as part of the eight-day exercises that kicked off earlier in the disputed South China Sea.
The navies of the two countries carried out joint air defense and anti-submarine drills on Saturday off southern China’s Guangdong Province, media reported on Sunday.
The joint military exercises, which began on September 12, come at a time of heightened tensions in the disputed territories of the resource-rich South China Sea, where some of the most important world water trade routes are located.
China says the military exercises with Russia are intended to strengthen cooperation and were not aimed at any other country.
The two countries, among the strongest countries on the globe and holders of veto power at the United Nations Security Council, share similar views on international issues, often in opposition to the United States and Western Europe.
One such issue is the dispute over sovereignty in the South China Sea, where the drills are ongoing.
This image, taken on September 14, 2016, shows Chinese and Russian troops embracing one another during “the Joint Sea 2016” naval drills in Zhanjiang, in south China’s Guangdong Province.
In July, a Hague-based court of arbitration ruled in a case lodged by the Philippines, that China’s claim of sovereignty in disputed territories in the sea had no legal basis.
China rejected the ruling, saying the Hague court lacked the legitimacy to rule on the matter.
Russia backed China on the issue, while the US took sides with the Philippines, an apparent regional ally, putting pressure on Beijing to dismiss its territorial claims in the region.
The presence of the US warships in the South China Sea has also been a main source of concern for both China and Russia, which say such extra-regional presence only adds to tensions in the region.

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