[Global Network Military Comprehensive Report] 9 September article in the US National Interest magazine, the original topic: Russia-China military interaction strengthened, is it an accident? Russia's "Oriental -2018" military exercise is about to begin in September 11th. The drill was held in the Lake Baikal region of East Siberia adjacent to northeast China. It has become a national military and social event in Russia. An important feature of this year's exercise is that as many as 3,200 Chinese soldiers, as well as tanks, vehicles and aircraft, participated, mostly from northern China's war zones. This is the first time the PLA has participated in the four year old military exercise, which was previously attended by Russians.
At present, Russia-China military relations are developing continuously, which is the natural result of the deepening of political and economic relations between the two countries. In the past, Russian and Chinese military activities were mostly symbolic and representative, and in recent years interaction seems to be getting more frequent. The PLA, which has not fought since its self-defense counterattack against Vietnam in 1979, may also want to learn from Russia's new operational experience in Eastern Ukraine and Syria. The key now is whether the interaction between the two armies will develop into cooperative operations.
In 2005, Russia and China devoted a small number of troops to joint exercises, but mostly in Central Asia and Russia, "counter-terrorism" exercises, which are part of China-driven SCO. It is noteworthy that the SCO peace mission exercise in 2018 is currently being conducted in Chelyabinsk with the participation of China, Russia and six other countries. Bilaterally, the two countries have held several small-scale joint naval exercises in the Baltic Sea (2017), the South China Sea (2016) and the eastern Mediterranean (2015). Most of these exercises are "flag-lighting" operations designed to send clear signals to the outside world and demonstrate support among partners.
Russia and China have solved the border problems that plague bilateral relations, which is an absolutely wise and pragmatic foreign policy for both sides. In the future, the two countries are likely to be affected by potential problems such as increasing imbalances in oil and gas resources, but now they have greater challenges to deal with, whether in Russia's West and south, or in China's Southeast Pacific and (to a lesser extent) the Indian Ocean. Both countries need trade boundaries that are calm and free from external influences.
At the same time, Russia and China both believe that the United States and its allies obstruct their aspirations and directly threaten their governments, so strengthening military activities becomes more attractive to both sides. Neither Russia nor China has important allies, nor is it part of a well organized security alliance like NATO. They do not want to be isolated or curbed. It also explains that the two countries are in step with the United Nations and other international forums and major security issues, even though their plans are different.
Under such circumstances, the United States and its allies should maintain a strong policy towards Russia and China. But we should not blindly regard Russia and China as a joint threat, thus creating a potential "self-fulfilling prophecy" - especially if they feel isolated, the two countries may form an alliance through some strong practical agreement. (Peter Zvik, Chen Junan)
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