Monday, July 31, 2017

Getting to Know You. Getting to Know All About You

Russian and Chinese ships exercised together in the Baltic Sea. The Russians say this represents no threat. I beg to differ.

It was a big deal for China to sail all the way to the Baltic Sea to participate in Sea Cooperation 2017. Russia says the joint exercise are no threat to others:

"The actions of our sailors will be monitored by our numerous neighbors in the region," Russian Vice Admiral Alexander Fedotenkov was quoted as saying in a statement released by the Russian Defence Ministry.

"Holding such an exercise is in no way a threat to other nations," he said.

He has a point. I'm not worried that China's ships pose a threat or that training with the Russians will hone the Russian edge to be more of a threat. But Russia should be worried. The threat is to Russia.

We aren't far away from when China can renew their land claims in the Russian Far East.

Exercising in the Baltic where the Russians have to protect St. Petersburg is useful for China to do.

I think China has an interest in seeing how the Russians operate in a closed sea in defense of a major port city. Like Vladivostok, to pick a city at random.

Of course, watching the Russians in the Baltic Sea is no substitute for exercises near Russian Pacific ports. For that you'd have to exercise in the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk.

Wait. What?

The exercise, called "Sea Cooperation-2017," follows similar ones held last year. More exercises of the same kind will be held in mid-September in the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk, China's state news agency Xinhua reported last month.

Oh. Well as Fedotenkov might say, those drills will in no way be a threat to others.

Ah the things China is learning about Russia day by day!