China-Russia joint military drill no reason for concern
Updated: 2015-08-20 14:20
BEIJING -- As China and Russia started the second phase of an annual joint naval drill Thursday off the coast of Vladivostok, quite a few worrywarts have found themselves attracted to the sensational claim that the two countries are stepping up efforts to forge a military alliance.
They have fallen prey to the idea partly because earlier reports by Western news organizations almost unanimously wove some carefully chosen facts into the background of the news of the Joint Sea-2015 (II) exercise so as to deliver home a false impression.
By elaborating on simmering tension in the South China Sea and between China and Japan, as well as on Russia's "beleaguered status" following the Ukraine crisis, such reports intend to convince readers that China and Russia have enough motive to make the drill an occasion to flex military muscles over potential enemies.
However, the truth is China and Russia have never wanted the routine drill, conducted annually by the two navies since 2012, to be a saber-rattling event but one that promotes maritime security and regional stability.
Unlike many other war games staged in the Asia-Pacific region, the Joint Sea series focus on emergency response under multiple circumstances, instead of simulating an offensive against a third party.
For example, the first phase of Joint Sea-2015, conducted on May 11-21 in the Mediterranean, centered on maritime defense, replenishment and escort.
The defensive nature of these maneuvers is in line with China's defence policy, which makes it clear that China will not be the first to strike.
As for the far-fetched idea of an emerging China-Russia military alliance, it seems that only the most insensible ones could buy.
While putting Russia at a notable spot among all its military cooperative partners, China is also a firm believer of non-alignment policy, as shown by remarks of generations of top diplomats as well as state leaders.
Meanwhile, Russia also declared on various occasions that it is not interested in building any military-political blocs or seek "friendship against someone."
It may be true that growing military ties between Russia and China have irritated some sensitive nerves, especially in Washington, but it is worth noting that excessive geo-political interpretation of a specific military drill is neither necessary nor justified.