China and Russia Commence Joint Military Exercises in Sea of Japan Amid Rising Tensions

China and Russia have initiated their highly anticipated joint military exercises in the Sea of Japan, with the stated purpose of ensuring security in the strategic passage at sea. Chinese state television reported the commencement of the drills, while regional sources suggest the exercises are aimed at testing their joint combat capabilities across land, air, and sea military assets. The duration of the exercises has not been specified.

The drills come in response to recent US-Japan military exercises, signaling a provocative display of military strength in regional waters. China has expressed concerns over Japan’s deepening cooperation with NATO, and in response, Beijing’s defense ministry confirmed that PLA naval vessels, including a guided-missile destroyer, are participating in the exercises.

China’s stance on the Ukraine conflict remains ‘neutral,’ although it has emphasized the dangers of NATO’s eastward expansion. The West has accused China of covertly supporting Moscow. The growing militarily closer ties between China and Russia have been partly attributed to US sanctions and punitive measures aimed at both nations.

In 2022, China and Russia conducted six joint military exercises, comprising two-thirds of all of China’s drills with foreign militaries that year. Beyond the Sea of Japan, both nations have also engaged in naval drills with Iran in the Persian Gulf region. The situation continues to raise tensions in the international arena, with implications for regional security dynamics.