In the midst of escalating conflicts with Washington, Beijing has announced that naval troops from China, Iran, and Russia are conducting joint exercises in the Gulf of Oman in the coming days.
The Ministry of National Defense said in a statement yesterday that the drill would inject good energy into regional peace and security” and strengthen real collaboration between the naval armies of the nations involved.
Without going into further explanation, it was stated that other nations were also participating in the “Security Bond-2023” drills. The Gulf of Oman, which is located at the entrance to the vital Persian Gulf, borders Iran with Pakistan, the UAE, and Oman.
China deployed the guided missile cruiser Nanning to participate in training exercises focused on non-combat tasks like maritime seek and recovery. Djibouti, a nation in the Horn of Africa, is just across the Gulf of Oman, and it is here that China keeps its sole overseas military installation, replete with a navy pier.
The drills, which are set to take place until Sunday lasting five days, coincide with elevated hostilities between the Washington and Beijing over a number of issues, including China’s continued support for the Russian economic stability and its failure to condemn Russia for Ukraine war.
John Kirby, a spokesman for the US National Security Council, stated that the White House was unconcerned about the combined training exercise because it was not the first time the China and Russia had have their troops train together.
Kirby explained in an interview that “we’re going to watch it, we’ll monitor it, obviously, to make sure that there’s no threat resulting from this training exercise to our national security interests or those of our allies and partners in the region. But nations train. We do it all the time. We’ll watch it as best we can.”
Similar exercises were conducted by the 3 countries in 2018 and 2019. The process highlighs China’s expanding political and military ties with governments that Washington and its allies have largely ignored.
United States and its allies denounced the Russian invasion of Ukraine, imposed harsh economic punitive measures on Moscow, and provided Ukraine with defensive weapons. In the meantime, China’s growing ties with Russia raised concerns about whether Beijing would be willing to provide military assistance to the Russian President.
Since the establishment of the Islamic Republic 44 years ago and the embassy crisis in Tehran, Iran and the United States have been at odds. China held discussions between Tehran and its main regional rival Saudi Arabia last week.
Following 7 years of conflict, the two countries came to an understanding during the talks last Friday to resume complete diplomatic ties.
Despite the long-standing military and political affiliations between the Washington and Riyadh, those ties have deteriorated as a result of the killing of US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey in 2018. The oil production cuts by the OPEC+ oil cartel, which the administration claimed were aiding Russia, further deepened the rifts.
The latest Iran-Saudi discussions were held in China, which gave it the unique position of mediating regional disputes, a position Beijing appears eager to exploit.