Russia Sails Warships Close to Taiwan in Sign of Strengthening Russia-China Ties

On July 8, 2023, Xiao Bin, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Science’s Institute of Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies, declared that the appearance of Russian naval vessels close to Taiwan may demonstrate political support for China and stronger relations between the two nations’ military forces. 

“It is more likely that the Russian ships were acting on their own initiative and wanted to show political support for China or win China’s support for Russia,” he stated, per a quote collected by the South China Morning Post.

“It’s using a military operation to express a political stand,” the expert continued.

Xiao said that this latest move by Russia is designed to follow up on remarks made by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin after their talks in Moscow back in March. The South China Morning Post said that the two leaders announced at the time that they would strengthen the relationship of the strategic partnership between the countries.

“The military cooperation [between Russia and China] has always been centered around joint exercises and training,” the expert said to the newspaper. “We could see new items of training, but China and Russia have been doing that for a long time. It’s just that these joint operations are more eye-catching in light of joint drills by Japan, South Korea and the United States in the Asia-Pacific.”

On June 27, Taiwan’s defense ministry detected the Russian corvettes Gromky and Sovershenny sailing close to the island’s east coast. The ministry’s statement revealed that they were sailing north to south and subsequently sailed into the open ocean to the southeast of the port of Suao.

The Russian Pacific Fleet naval vessels – the Gromky and Sovershenny corvettes and the Pechenga medium-sized sea tanker – arrived at Shanghai on July 5. They stayed there on July 11 and then continued with their long-range mission across the Asia-Pacific. On July 7, Admiral Nikolay Yevmenov, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, visited the vessels in Shanghai.

Russia and China’s relationship will only deepen in the era of multipolarity. With the US sanctioning both countries and trying to militarily contain them, Russia and China will strengthen their alliance through increased military cooperation, economic integration, and the construction of parallel political bodies to challenge the West.

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