Russia And China Will Hold Joint Naval Drills In Contested South China Sea

Tyler Durden's picture

When on July 12 we described the symbolic, if utterly meaningless ruling by the Hague's Permanent Court of Arbitration on July 12, according to which China had no legal claim on most of the South China Sea (obviously, a ruling that China said repeatedly both before and after it would ignore), we said that "Ironically, in attempting to stem China's territorial expansions in the region, the tribunal will likely just provoke Beijing even more."

Just over two weeks later we got the first official confirmation that this is precisely what has happened, when overnight China's Defense Ministry announced that China and Russia would hold "routine" naval exercises in the contested area in the South China Sea this coming September, "adding that the drills were aimed at strengthening their cooperation and were not aimed at any other country."

Translation: the drills are aimed at the US, whose diplomatic relationship with "uber hacker" Russia is the worst it has been since the cold war, and whose ties with China have been deteriorating over the past several years, and culminating with July's ruling which clearly pinpointed the biggest geopolitical tension point - the South China Sea.

As Reuters trivially adds, "the exercises come at a time of heightened tension in the contested waters after an arbitration court in The Hague ruled this month that China did not have historic rights to the South China Sea and criticized its environmental destruction there. China rejected the ruling and refused to participate in the case."

"This is a routine exercise between the two armed forces, aimed at strengthening the developing China-Russia strategic cooperative partnership," China's defense ministry spokesman Yang Yujun told a regular monthly news conference.

"The exercise is not directed against third parties."

Of course, it isn't.

While China and an isolated by the west Russia, have been developing increasingly closer commercial ties over the past several years, including bilateral currency swaps, a major natural gas pipeline, and joint exploration projects, so far the two countries had not had a chance to demontrate the tight nature of their Eurasian geopolitical "axis." Furthermore, China and Russia are veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council, and have held similar views on many major issues such as the crisis in Syria. This has repeatedly put them at odds with the United States and Western Europe.

Last year, they held joint military drills in the Sea of Japan and the Mediterranean. However, nowhere has the tension been higher than in the South China Sea, which is precisely where China will show the US how is boss. And it will have Russia by its side.

Chinese and Russian naval vessels participate in the Joint Sea-2014 naval drill
in the East China Sea, May 24, 2014.

Naturally, White House spokesman Josh Earnest played down the significance of the exercises even though he conceded that the South China Sea was "a sensitive diplomatic topic right now".

"I don't know what exercises they are planning, but in the same way the United States and China have a military-to-military relationship, I'm not surprised that Russia and China are seeking to build upon their military-to-military relationship as well," he told a regular briefing.

The question then is whose military-to-military relationship is more important to Beijing.

China has recently taken part in U.S.-led multinational naval drills in the Pacific and a U.S. defense official said he did not expect the China-Russia exercises to affect U.S. military activity or behavior in the South China Sea. 

“We're not concerned about the safety of U.S. vessels in the region as long as interactions with the Chinese remain safe and professional, which has been the case in most cases,” the official said. Except for those cases in which it wasn't.

China claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion of trade moves annually. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have rival claims.

China has repeatedly blamed the United States for stoking tension in the region through its military patrols, and of taking sides in the dispute. The United States has sought to assert its right to freedom of navigation in the South China Sea with its patrols and denies taking sides in the territorial disputes.

And this is why September's drills are important: Russia has been a strong backer of China's stance on the arbitration case, which was brought by the Philippines. Yang said China and Russia were comprehensive strategic partners and had already held many exercises this year.

"These drills deepen mutual trust and expand cooperation, raise the ability to jointly deal with security threats, and benefit the maintenance of regional and global peace and stability," he said.

And, as time goes by, Russia and China will only become closer strategic partners, to the exclusion of the US and Washington's own Pacific Rim sphere of influence.

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Marcecamb's picture

This is the definition of actions speak louder than words.

WordSmith2013's picture

It's the Magrav technology that Russia has that will neutralize the entire US fleet.

Magrav Technology Levels The Global Playing Field

! ! !



cossack55's picture

Obummer should initiate "The Great White Fleet 2.0"..............well, the dufus may wish to rename it.

ThanksChump's picture

If the moron starts yet another war, I wouldn't be surpised to see YouTube videos of Bernie fans making wallets and cat food out of him and his entire family.


"Oh this? Yeeeaah! Isn't it fine! This here is my Obama wallet. See that mark right there? That's Obama's Illuminati model and serial number. And, I also got this here key fob. That's Michelle's nutsack! Go on, shake it! It rattles!"

ThanksChump's picture

Lol. Energy from love and the cosmos! Where did I put my tarot cards and crystals?

Monetas's picture
Monetas (not verified) Jul 29, 2016 2:06 AM

Ya mean China and Russia .... will gang up on "West leaning" Viet Nam .... after supporting North Viet Nam all those years .... dispicable ?

Zero Point's picture

Russia supported Vietnam. China not so much, given they invaded them.

Monetas's picture
Monetas (not verified) Jul 29, 2016 2:11 AM

My dream is .... US, China and Russia .... crush Islam .... and split the oil with friendly countries in the region ?

beemasters's picture

That will not end terrorism. What would? US, China, Russia crush the Zionists and takeover the world's controlled central banks.

beemasters's picture

Now, we have China-Russia vs NATO. Quite a balance of military power. The only way to cripple either side is through economic means. In any case, the victims will always be the innocent folks.

SimpleJackBlack's picture
SimpleJackBlack (not verified) Jul 29, 2016 2:41 AM

Sounds like ww3 is starting to roll.

JPMorgan's picture

Russia and China do face a lot of common threats and problems, so it makes sense they would band together and support each other.

Between them there are considable resources and man power that could be called on.

shutterbug's picture

Those countries NEED to show the USA that they won't roll over when asked...

Good for them!! Other countries are cowards.

IronForge's picture

If these Standoffs become "Hot Wars", I don't think TEAM_USA would be able to hold off CHN for very long (too far away).  Those Atolls and Islands don't sink so easily - MOABs and FOABs may level a few; but they can be easily rebuilt.

Is I mentioned before, If USA and PHI get too involved with CHN, that will give CHN the excuse to drop Thousands of Troops on PHI's Soil, which makes it an Endgame for the current Regime in PHI and allow for CHN to REALLY "take commanding control" of the South China Sea Traffic (of course, people will divert around if needed)

I'd be concerened if several parties began to Light Off Tac Nukes, Neutron/EMP Warheads, and other NBC Payloads to Troops on the Islands and the Shorelines, though I doubt anyone is stupid enough to drop them on the CHN_Mainland

Lost in translation's picture

China invasion of PI. Hadn't thought of that... what a scenario that would be, yikes...

sinbad2's picture

It won't happen, why would China invade the poorest nation in the region.

War is business by other means.

IronForge's picture

The Obvious:


  1. Control the South China Sea Region - by straddling it with large Land Masses.
  2. Take over Arable Land - with a Pop of 1.3B+, need we explain more?
  3. Take over Prime Real Estate with Access to the Sea - by straddling the South China Sea, CHN should break any form of containment / blockade formation by anyone else.
  4. Because they can, with enough provocation.

The fact that they took over an Atoll/Island(?) right next to PHI hints of it.

UndertheDRADIS's picture

We could offer the Philippines some equipment. . . Awww, what the hell was I thinking?

DeeZ_nutZ's picture

Obomo the magic negro should order all US navy and army personnel to obtain large gay pride rainbow colored flags, line up on decks of their vessels, runways and just in general places where they could be seen loud and clear  and start waving those flags as hard as they can.  The combination of colors in the flags will distract pilots attention, create havoc and panic, ships will start running into each other and will be running ashore in full dismay.  Victory!


Polish is all off with a loud and cheerfull gaypride parade in every major city of USA.


See, how easy it is?

Last of the Middle Class's picture

Obomo the magic negro


Fucking hilarious!!! was worth the ruined keyboard.

BritBob's picture



The findings by the Hague tribunal contain a series of criticisms of China’s actions and claims. The court declares that “although Chinese navigators and fishermen, as well as those of other states, had historically made use of the islands in the South China Sea, there was no evidence that China had historically exercised exclusive control over the waters or their resources.

The tribunal concluded that there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line’.”


Although China will complain this judgment was expected and falls into line with similar judgments made by the PCA/ICJ.


Another case that supports this view of effective sovereignty is relevant is the Minquiers and Ecrehos Case, France/UK of 17th November 1953. In this case both the UK and France had requested the ICJ to determine which country held sovereignty over the uninhabited Islets and rocks in the Minquiers and Ecrehos. France had claimed sovereignty because of historic sovereignty going back to the Dutchy of Normandy in the 11th century while the UK claimed that Jersey had historically exercised administrational jurisdiction on them. The Court decided that in the absence of valid treaty provisions, they considered the argument that the British government has exercised effective control to be superior, so that sovereignty control over the Minquiers and Ecrehos belonged to the UK. (the UK had protested to the French government when a French national had intended to build a house on one of the islats and any deaths occurring on the islets were dealt with by inquests held on Jersey). ICJ Minquiers & Ecrehos Judgment, 17 Nov 1953, p28, paras 6 & 12.

The ICJ has already determined at an earlier tribunal that No delimitation between states with opposite or adjacent coasts may be affected unilaterally by one of those states. And , The delimitation of the exclusive economic zone between states with opposite or adjacent coasts shall be affected by agreement on the basis of international law... So the latest PCA ruling comes as no surprise.

For that and some other interesting judgments on territorial seas (3 pages) and to gain an understanding as to how the world court deals with such disputes :

Paul John Smith's picture

Seems like a lot of neocon bullshit to me.

gregga777's picture

The War Profiteers / Merchants of Death have total control over Bucking Ofamanochio's puppet strings especially the ones used for reciting belligerent speeches from the TelePrompTer. There's nothing inside the Affirmative Action, fake Constitutional scholar's head excepting a pleasure thermometer making him an ideal puppet.

Kaeako's picture

Russia has a navy? Some Soviet remnants? AND it's going to the South China Sea? Is this the Chinese way of saying: "Welcome Americans, with this move we will justify your continued presence in these waters"? What?

Quaerere_Veritatem's picture

You could at least do a websearch before you make such an ignorant statement.

The Russian Navy is ranked #2 in the world, right behind the USA.



 Total Naval Strength: 352
 Aircraft Carriers: 1
 Frigates: 4
 Destroyers: 15
 Corvettes: 81
 Submarines: 60
 Coastal Defense Craft: 14
 Mine Warfare: 45



 Total Naval Strength: 415
 Aircraft Carriers: 19
 Frigates: 6
 Destroyers: 62
 Corvettes: 0
 Submarines: 75
 Coastal Defense Craft: 13
 Mine Warfare: 11


With the advent of supercavitating torpedoes, Aircraft Carriers are sitting ducks when at war with well equipped nations like Russia.

Tall Tom's picture





The Surface Fleets are just another name for targets...including the Russian Surface Fleet.


If an Aircraft Carrier Task Group is destroyed the Nuclear Launch will be soon to follow.


Then we are all dead.


Oh...Just in the case you are thinking about sitting it out and surviving in a Bunker....


The soot in the air will blot out Sunlight for Six Months according to scientists at the former Soviet Academy for the Sciences. They modeled  the scenario using ONLY 1% of the Nuclear Arsenal of the USSR and the USA.


Now I do not know if you are aware but it is not the Land Plant Life that provides most of the Oxygen that you breathe...but it is the PHYTOPLANKTON in the Oceans that are responsible for that.


If the Sunlight is blotted out for Six Months...then THEY DIE OFF INTO EXTINCTION. because they essentially starve to death.


But who needs Oxygen to breathe anyway. Because if there are no PHYTOPLANKTON there is NO Oxygen.


You, as a result, will SUFFOCATE, along with all Human Survivors. It is an Extinction Level event.


And that was modeled with only ONE PERCENT of the arsenal being used.


So teah...


Go Russia go and sink American Aircraft Carrier Attack Groups. Then we can ALL DIE as a result of a Global Thermonuclear War.


Yeah. Russia.

Yeah. Go Russia go and sink American Ships.





Maybe you are smarter than that and prefer...BREATHING IN AND OUT WITH THE AIR.


It is the secret to life as when you stop breathing for an extended period of time then you are no longer among the living.


I personally prefer breathing and I am not looking forward into a Nuclear War. Are you?

silverer's picture

No, good God. Anyone who bothered to educate themselves about nuclear weapons doesn't want a nuclear war. I tell everyone I know, you just can't have one. It's over, no winners. That first hydrogen bomb test, where they dropped a bomb from a B-29 called Dave's Dream on Bikini Atoll back in 1956. So many people were even born after that... you still can't live on Bikini Atoll. Because even though it's OK to be there, you can't grow food in the soil, because there is still enough radioactive thorium that gets taken up into the plants that after a few months, it builds in your system to problematic levels. How many years has that been? A widespread nuclear war will most likely contaminate nearly all agricultural land. So even if you do survive in your shelter, and emerge three years later, and even if there is enough oxygen to breathe, where are you going to get food for the next 100 years? We need to get these sociopath warmongers out of the government ASAP.

JohninMK's picture

Notice the different emphasis shown by the types and numbers of ships?

Russia - defensive and lots of small, difficult targets

US - offensive with lots of big, juicy targets

Then there are the large numbers of Russian anti-ship missiles, air/sea/undersea/coastal, all targetting those nice big targets.

UndertheDRADIS's picture

President Trump: "So, the Navy doesn't want any diesel-electric subs?"

Chief of Naval Operations: "No sir. We have determined that we don't need them."

President Trump: "Cool." Picks up phone. "Get me the Commandant of the Coast Guard."

Chief of Naval Operations: "Wait a minute, sir. You're going to give submarines to the Coast Guard?"

President Trump: "Yes I am. Now get the hell out of my office."

Arnold's picture

Iranian Navy will be an active participant , from port.

NoDecaf's picture

Combat radius of carrier aircraft is ~350miles. Combat range of DF-21d is ~800 miles. Only one of these missiles is enough to take out a carrier or render it useless. They can position them deep inland and fire away, all day.
One hit ... Just one hit... And that imperial facade of "power projection" is blown away.

Tall Tom's picture





The last Admiral who made the mistake of relance upon having the difference of range of  airborne combat elements as being decisive had the both the IJN Aircraft Carrier Taiho and Shokaku sitting at the bottom of the Ocean near the Marianas Trench back in 1944.


Admiral Kuroda....yeah...that was his name I think..


He made the blundering mistake in that he had not adequately considered the possibility of a US Submarine Attack...Ooops....Deep Six.

silverer's picture

Yes. Battleships aged out of the fleets quite a while back. Now even aircraft carriers are too vulnerable. That's the problem, as the danger escalates more than ever. If you can't fight a war after a day or two because your navy got sunk, you know what happens next. It goes to push button. At the push button stage, everyone gets their chance to be vaporized. You've seen the phrase... "boy, that escalated quickly". Well, it will.

UndertheDRADIS's picture

Battleships only "aged" out to be replaced with relatively flimsy floating airfields because the Naval Establishment found carriers and aircraft were more "sexy. There is something to be said about being able to own a coastline by throwing a thousand pounds of explosive warhead 60 miles inland. . . Over and over and over again. Some stuff I have read indicate that the distance can be upped to 100nm by doing some sort of technological witchcraft. Grab the Final Four, put in nuclear propulsion and other modernization items. Something tells me that a modernized battleship program is a better deal than a non-functional $13 billion carrier stuffed with $350 million aircraft.

President Trump: "I need battleships activated."

Chief of Naval Operations: "Which ones, Mr. President?"

President Trump: "All of them. I'll explain it to the Congress."

Chief of Naval Operations: "Yes, Sir."

President Trump: "And when you're done, send the Chief of Naval Operations for the People's Liberation Army Navy a glass-bottomed boat."

silverer's picture

They certainly pose a credible threat to ships in the area. Everything so tight... like PT boats of WWII. I'm guessing the US has a plan, but like Ali once said: "everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face".

overmedicatedundersexed's picture

china builds new islands..they now have sea rights around them..molon labe..simple policy for a clear goal..the west resorts to courts and lawyers, cause well we own them both..Russia (crimea) China(s china sea) laugh and "just do it"..complex world of international relations comes down to who has the baddest thugs to keep it.  don't tell the demorats, they are trapped in the nuance of thousands of pages of laws and treaty..regulations on pieces of paper really really mean stuff you know..LOL

the world belongs to those who can keep it.

UndertheDRADIS's picture

Cool! Since Guam is a US territory, the United States can now claim the entire North Pacific Ocean as an enclosed body of water that is its Exclusive Economic Zone. Since the United States is a veto-holding member of the United Nations Security Council, any resolution is dead on arrival. Should be disappointing for the Russians and Chinese to be told they can't fish or transit the Pacific Ocean without permission.

africoman's picture

This could means "You have fire we got fire too" to the western powers.

commie's picture
commie (not verified) Jul 29, 2016 6:59 AM

Reading ZH for awhile, one gets the impression that the Durden's have raised a whole kennel of Pavlov's dogs. The yip and yap on cue when presented with  article like this.  

overmedicatedundersexed's picture

thanks for adding to the conversation...we get to say stuff that your approved sites banned yrs ago..culture shock for you I am sure..

mary mary's picture

Some of us yup and yep.

commie's picture
commie (not verified) mary mary Jul 29, 2016 8:09 AM

Same difference.

johnnycanuck's picture

Well, if you couldn't foresee the inevitable outcome of Victoria Nuland and John McCain's cookie stand putsch in Ukraine then you were likely yipping when you should have been yapping.

commie's picture
commie (not verified) johnnycanuck Jul 29, 2016 9:44 AM

What ZH pups don't seem to understand is that there is a good reason the East European nations (of the old Soviet Block) want to join NATO. Pootin's ambitions are endless. 

JohninMK's picture

With that view on life you will find your time here very frustrating.

commie's picture
commie (not verified) JohninMK Jul 29, 2016 4:09 PM

I would say amusing.

Able Ape's picture

As Rodney Dangerfield would say, "I don't get NO respect!"  USA! USA! USA!...and what does THAT mean nowadays?...

silverer's picture

Not much, and getting less mucher daily.