Let them get used to it: How the naval Russian-Chinese exercises caused panic in Japan and United States of America

Let them get used to it: How the naval Russian-Chinese exercises caused panic in Japan and United States of America

Viktor Litovkin

‘‘A detachment of warships of the Pacific Fleet returned to the main base after the completion of the joint exercise of the Navy of the Russian F-ederation and the Naval Fo-rces of the People’s Repu-blic of China” Sea Interact-ion – 2021 “, – with reference to the press service of the Pacific Fleet, TASS told TASS. time the crews of the ships will carry out replenishment of material stocks and scheduled technical inspections, after which they will continue to carry out tasks as intended, “the message says.
Flags over Tsugaru
The exercises of Russian and Chinese sailors took place in the Sea of Japan in mid-October. From the side of the Navy, warships and support vessels of the Pacific Fleet participated in them: the large anti-submarine ship “Admiral Pante-leev”, the newest corvettes of the project 20380 “Hero of the Russian Federation Aldar Tsydenzhapov” and “Gromkiy”, two base minesweepers, a diesel-electric submarine of project 877 ” Ust-Bolsheretsk “, as well as a missile boat and a rescue tug. In the air, they were covered by Su-35 and MiG-31 fighters. From the Chinese side – the PLA Navy: the destroyers “Kun Ming” and “Nan Chang”, the corvettes “Bin Zhou” and “Liu Zhou”, as well as a diesel submarine, an integrated supply ship and a rescue vessel, and, in addition, military aircraft.
During the naval maneuvers, the sailors of the two countries practiced trawling sea areas, searching for and neutralizing a potential enemy’s submarine, helping each other during emergencies, protecting ships from air attacks, conducting artillery fire at targets that imitated enemy ships, and trained in restocking while on the move, and organized joint actions to protect merchant ships from attack by sea pirates. Well, and then, after the official end of the exercise, like the icing on the cake, a detachment of the two countries, consisting of ten warships, conducted joint patrols in the western part of the Pacific Ocean. For the first time passed the international waters of the Sangar Strait (Tsugaru, as the Japanese call it), which separates the two largest islands of the Land of the Rising Sun – Hokkaido and Honshu,
“The tasks of the joint patrolling of the Russian-Chinese detachment were to demonstrate the state flags of Russia and China, maintain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as protect the objects of maritime economic activity of the two countries,” the press service of the Russian military department explained this Pacific campaign.
Breaking the template
Naturally, the press and television in Japan, as well as the United States, could not calmly pass by this Pacific march of Russian and Chinese sailors. An extensive article on the partnership between Moscow and Beijing at sea was erupted by the well-kn-own magazine of the Nixon Center of the United States The National Interest. Its author Peter Suciu, talking about the maneuvers themselves and about Washington’s concern about close military ties between Russia and China, not only at sea, but also on land, preferred to look for contradictions between the two countries in order to try to reduce the significance of the past exercises.
On the one hand, he admitted that Russian President Vladimir Putin has an ally in the person of Chinese leader Xi Jinping, and even quoted from the speech of the official representative of the PRC Foreign Ministry Zhao Lijian that the two countries are “united like a rock” and maintain “inviolable friendship.”… On the other hand, referring to a study by the Jamestown Foundation, he noted that “under the surface, not everything is so smooth in Russian-Chinese relations, partners “. I also remembered that Beijing did not recognize the return of Crimea to Russia, and Moscow did not express its readiness to help China in returning Taiwan.
What relation these two questions have to the past joint naval exercises of the two neighboring states, he did not explain. It is only clear that such exercises for Washington are a kind of break in the template. They all hoped for contradictions between Moscow and Beijing, and here – clear mi-litary cooperation between these countries. The United States increasingly dislikes the rapprochement and interaction between Russia and China, especially in the military field. This, of course, sharply reduces Washington’s ability to exert pressure on Moscow and Beijing. But here we can do nothing to help him. Let him get used to the fact that the United States is not the best for a long time… So that and no matter how they talk about it on the American Olympus.
The reaction of The National Interest to the Russian-Chinese exercise was quite predictable. Although its author did not say a lot. I’ll do it for him. But a little later. And now about what the Japanese press wrote and said about the passage through the Sangar Gate. Her tone was even more catastrophic than that of the author of the Nixon Center.
“They surround us”
The islands expressed fear that they were “surrounded”, called the joint exercises of the Russian and Chinese navies and the passage through the Tsugaru Strait “an alarming message” and argued that the United States “would not save them.” It is reported by Yahoo News Japan. Some of its readers are sounding the alarm and demanding a military build-up, because Japan must defend itself from potential adversaries, without waiting for the help of its allies. The way Washington leaves its partners to the mercy of fate is well illustrated by the example of Afghanistan, they say. And they are not at all reassured by the statement of the Deputy Secretary General of the Cabinet of Ministers Yoshihiko Isozaki that Japan monitored the actions of the Russian and Chinese ships and, if necessary, could apply the necessary measures to them.
Although the passage between Hokkaido and H-onshu is considered intern-ational and, according to t-he law of the sea, ships of any countries can use it wi-thout notifying the Japane-se authorities about their actions, there are demands in Tokyo to make such a passage of the Russian and Chinese navy ships “bloo-dy” in the future. True, m-ore sober voices remind th-at both countries have nu-clear weapons and their ret-aliatory strike on the islan-ds could send them themselves to the bottom of the ocean.
Together at sea and on land
But let’s leave the Japanese-American discussion – their business is how they react to the next Russian-Chinese naval exercises. Let us ask ourselves a simple and obvious question: why such a panic? After all, these are not the first, not the second and, of course, not the last exercises of the two fleets. Moscow and Beijing have been conducting such maneuvers, apart from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and bilateral ground exercises, almost every year since 2005. In August of that year, according to the TASS dossier, they were held in the Yellow Sea, were part of the Peace Mission 2005 exercise, organized under the auspices of the SCO (by the way, an agreement on military cooperation was concluded between all SCO members in the framework of the fight against international terrorism. there is no mutual assistance between Russia and China).
And the first exercises under the current name “Maritime Interaction” took place in 2012 – again in the Yellow Sea, off the coast of Shandong province. Then a year later there were maneuvers in the Peter the Great Gulf in the Sea of Japan, not far from Vladivostok. In 2015, the maneuvers took place in two stages – in the Mediterranean Sea, where two Chinese missile frigates Linyi and Weifang arrived, and again in the Peter the Great Gulf. A year later, the sailors of the two countries interacted in exercises in the South China Sea, off the coast of Guangdong province. And especially memorable were the maneuvers of 2017, when Chinese ships passed through the Pacific and Indian Oceans, the Suez Canal, the Mediterranean Sea, Gibraltar, entered the Atlantic, and from there through the Great and Small Belt into the Baltic Sea. Moored at the Russian naval base Baltiysk, near Kaliningrad. Russian and Chinese sailors conducted joint maneuvers in the Baltic, after which the Chinese Navy took part in the naval parade in Kronstadt and St. Petersburg, dedicated to the Day of the Russian Navy. It was a very significant and striking episode in relations between the two countries.
And then, when the Chinese ships returned home, they took part in joint exercises in the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk, as well as on the coast of the Primorsky Territory, at the training grounds of the Pacific Fleet, where the amphibious assault was landed.
I did not name dozens of ships and submarines, list fighters and attack aircraft, long-range bombers that took part in these maneuvers. The only thing I would like to emphasize is that each time these were the most modern ships, both on one side and on the other, the flagships of the Pacific Fleet, the Black Sea and Baltic fleets, as well as the flagships of the Chinese flotillas, armed with cruise missiles, anti-missile, anti-ship and anti-submarine weapons, modern high-tech electronic and navigation systems, digital weapons control systems. At the same time, the crews of these ships, officers and warrant officers always exchange their experience, including on interaction with coastal structures, aviation and space. Not surprising, that such a partnership between Moscow and Beijing does not like Washington and Tokyo. It is one thing to confront each country separately, and another to confront two at once. No amount of hybrid efforts to put pressure on them will help.
Let them get used to it
But dissatisfaction with the recent Maritime Engagement 2021 maneuvers by the US and Japan is not only due to growing military cooperation between Russia and China; not only with the demonstrative passage of Russian and Chinese ships through the Sangar Strait. Previously, the Americans believed that, hiding behind the slogan of “freedom of navigation” (by the way, they still have not signed the UN convention on this problem), the States could approach and even sometimes enter the territorial waters of Russia, as did the recently armed “Tomahaw-ks” “the destroyer USS Chafee, and before that its almost twin USS John S. McCain, but here, it turns out, the Russians can do the same with the Chinese. The arrogant self-esteem of the Americans – the Japanese does not count – has been dealt a very sensitive blow. So they bite their lips.
One of the most sensitive problems in this region is the creation of the military-political alliance AUKUS, which includes Australia, Great Britain and the United States. It is already called the “Asia-Pacific NATO”. They are trying to pull up Japan, South Korea and even Ind-ia. This alliance, as experts understand, was created not only for the construction of several dozen American nuclear submarines for Canberra (however, it is not yet clear with what weapons on board). But the main thing is for the dominance of the United States in this region of the world. This task was solved by the administration of Barack Obama, then Donald Trump, now the team of Joe Biden has taken up its solution. The Americans do not have enough of their military bases in Okinawa, Hawaii, Japanese Yokosu-ka, around Seoul, on countless Pacific islands – they need a total presence and dominance in the region.
They and previously banned medium-range missiles can be deployed here to threaten China and Russia, their military rivals and rivals. Not accepting Washington’s hegemony under any pretext. Not succumbing to its hybrid – political, economic, financial, informational-psychological and propaganda pressure. And then there is also the organizer of joint naval maneuvers under the defiant name “Sea Interaction”. This interaction of two armies and fleets, their oceanic patrols, is very annoying for the American establishment. But you can’t go anywhere – you have to get used to it.

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