Russia and China join forces to challenge US dominance

Ten thousand Russian and Chinese troops were preparing to invade the Shandong Peninsula in the Yellow Sea yesterday in a first joint military exercise, seen as a reaction to US dominance of world affairs.

The eight-day exercise, called Peace Mission 2005, will use air, sea and land forces to simulate a mission stabilising a restive country, and marks a new friendly phase in a bilateral relationship that has often been characterised by open hostility.

Analysts have pointed to opportunistic reasons behind the new relationship, with China keen to buy Russian oil, gas and weaponry and Moscow keen to sell.

Both countries want to send a message to Washington that the world is no longer unipolar but bipolar and that the world's largest country (Russia) and the world's most populous country (China) have common interests.

From a practical point of view it is important that the two get along, since they share a 2,700-mile border.

Chinese workers have also started moving into Russia's under-populated Far East en masse, a phenomenon that clearly worries Moscow.

Speaking in the Russian far eastern port of Vladivostok yesterday, military top brass from both countries insisted that the exercise was not designed to threaten any third country.

"These manoeuvres do not have hostile intentions," said General Yuri Baluyevsky, the Russian army's chief of staff. "Our exercises do not threaten any one country and we will clearly stick by this principle."

Though the exercise will simulate an attack on a fictional restive country, Moscow and Beijing are keen to stress that they are rehearsing a peace-keeping mission that would be conducted under United Nations auspices.

The fictional scenario envisages an imaginary state engulfed in a wave of violence fuelled by "ethnic and religious differences". Both sides have spoken of the need to "fight against international terrorism, separatism and extremism," words that will give pause for thought to Taiwan and Chechnya respectively.

Russian media analysts have also speculated that Moscow is keen to send a signal to anyone thinking about launching a Ukraine-style velvet revolution that they should think again.

The aim of the 10,000-strong Russo-Chinese force taking part in Peace Mission 2005 is to "restore order" and quell a numerically superior enemy force of some 100,000.

They will do this by launching an amphibious and airborne assault, by launching cruise missiles from bombers and submarines and by deploying infantry units against "illegal armed formations" who will be "played" by Chinese troops.

In an inauguration ceremony for the exercises, the commanders of the general staffs of Russia and China laid wreaths at a Second World War memorial in Vladivostok.

The drills are beginning just days after commemorations across Asia of the 60th anniversary of Japan's defeat in the Pacific.

The generals repeatedly stressed at a news conference that the drills weren't intended to be a show of intimidation.

The exercise formally started yesterday but has three distinct phases; military-political consultations and operational planning, the delivery and deployment of force, and armed combat.

Washington has not sent observers, but will be watching closely all the same.

The exercise comes just days after the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, personally observed a naval exercise by the country's Northern Fleet.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea