Beijing-Moscow joint military action serves to stabilize order disturbed by others
Published: Oct 24, 2021 09:07 PM
Chinese PLA navy's destroyer Kunming sails with Russia's large anti-submarine ship Admiral Tributs in the West Pacific on October 19. Photo: Li Tang

Chinese PLA navy's destroyer Kunming sails with Russia's large anti-submarine ship Admiral Tributs in the West Pacific on October 19. Photo: Li Tang

The defense ministries of China and Russia announced on Saturday that the two countries' warships had completed their first joint patrols in the Western Pacific. The patrols are of great practical significance for the two countries' navies. They also serve as a warning to others: to refrain from recklessly provoking other countries on core national interests.

The patrols came right after China and Russia wrapped up a joint naval drill in which the two sides engaged in comprehensive exercises. These included air defense, firing at sea target, and joint anti-submarine warfare operations. The exercises show the depth and width of the two countries' actual combat coordination. 

China sent its most advanced Type 055 guided missile destroyer to the patrols, while Russia deployed two of its latest type of frigates, showing the increasing mutual military trust between China and Russia. The immediate transformation from drill to patrol also illustrated the well-functioning mechanisms of transforming from peacetime to wartime status.

The passage of Chinese and Russian warships through the Tsugaru Strait has raised a lot of concerns. But in fact, the patrol is in full compliance with the provisions of international law. It is also fully in line with the provisions of the relevant law of the sea that the vessels then sailed through other straits back to their bases.

A spokesperson of the Japanese Ministry of Defense said last week that the passage of these ships violated neither Japan's territorial waters nor international rules. This is the real "freedom of navigation." 

Washington and its allies, on the other hand, are exercising their "freedom of rampage" under the banner of "freedom of navigation." This is blatantly violating international law and the sovereignty of China and Russia. 

Beijing and Moscow are taking practical actions to tell Washington what the real "innocent passage" and international order is. They are also warning Washington not to stubbornly challenge other countries' core interests.

From the statement of the Japanese Ministry of Defense and the practice of sending the Maritime Self-Defense Force to follow the warships of China and Russia, it can be said that Japan is experiencing a sense of insecurity. Japan's politics is now turning "right": It wants to amend its pacifist constitution and raise its military budget to 2 percent of overall GDP. These are all military expansion strategies declared by Fumio Kishida to the outside world. They pose a greater threat to other countries in Asia. 

Japan has left a very bad impression on other countries due to its inability to reflect on historical issues and its failure to abide by the agreements after World War II. The joint operation between China and Russia is an example of the two maintaining postwar order, and aiding the UN Charter for regional peace and stability. 

The US has never stopped containing China and Russia. Nicholas Burns, Biden's nominee for ambassador to China, recently tried to drive a wedge between China and Russia to undermine the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination between the two. He said during a Senate hearing on Wednesday that, "The Russians are going to have to worry long term about economic domination of Russia by China... The Russians ought to be worried about a Chinese nuclear weapons buildup in the western part of China."

But such an approach will not shake the strong ties between China and Russia. 

Beijing and Moscow have been holding onto the principle of "non-alignment, non-confrontation, not targeting any third party" to develop long-term friendly ties. This is done to contribute to world peace and development and safeguard the existing international order. They have set the example of a new type of international relations. The joint drill of China and Russia shows that both are responsible major powers. 

The author is a Chinese military expert and commentator. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn