CHINA and Russia have joined forces and are staging huge war games in a show of unity to the West, sparking fears of WW3.
It comes as growing tensions with the US and joint concern regarding the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan have further united the two nations.
An estimated 13,000 troops from the People’s Liberation Army and the Russian Army took part in the combat exercises in northwestern China.
The military drills reflect the increasingly closer ties between Beijing and Moscow and are a defiant bid to prove their alliance to Western forces.
Russian media have stressed the aim is specifically to counteract "mounting pressure" from the West, just one week after thousands of Marines and sailors took part in the US Navy's largest war game in 40 years.
The drill, aiming to prove America's "readiness" for potential global conflict, marks a return to similar Cold War exercises that were seen during the 1980s.
It’s thought that 36 ships and more than 50 virtual units took part in the mission alongside military and civilians, according to the Defense Post.
Beijing had previously staged drills off the coast of Taiwan, in what is widely seen as a dress rehearsal for an invasion, despite Washington's interventions.
Now seemingly in retaliation, Russian forces were observed firing shots from Chinese wheeled tanks and armoured vehicles.
Russian forces were seen firing from Chinese-wheeled tanks and armoured vehicles.
"Russian servicemen hit most of the targets" despite their lack of experience with the Chinese military equipment, TV Zvezda – a network owned by the Moscow defence ministry -boasted.
The war games, involving both ground troops and air forces, are set to continue until Friday in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, which is rich in different terrain.
The region borders Xinjiang, which shares a narrow frontier with Afghanistan – raising concerns in Beijing that the Taliban's "terrorism" could spill over into their territory.
Following the removal of Western forces, the jihadist group has continued to seize control of the country to worrying effect – and have been bringing a taste of their extreme form of Islam.
China and Russia's interests have once again aligned, seeing Russia separately deploy forces to the old Soviet border with Afghanistan in a joint operation with its allies in central Asia.
Now, they want their war games to "deepen the joint anti-terrorism operations between the Chinese and Russian militaries and demonstrate the firm determination and strength of the two countries to jointly safeguard international and regional security and stability," according to publication, Xinhua, citing Chinese and Russian officials.
They demonstrate a "new height of the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era and of the strategic mutual trust, pragmatic exchanges and coordination between the two countries."
And further military exercises are set to come involving the forces of the two autocracies.
As well as strengthening their positions, Russian expert Alexander Lomanov told Kommersant that the exercise purposely defies the Western expectation that there will never be close cooperation between Beijing and Moscow.
"The manoeuvres send a clear signal to those forces in the West that expect to divide Moscow and Beijing," he said.
They "cement" the cooperation between China and Russia, he said.
Source: Read Full Article