Several reports of naval activity from the Taiwan Strait to the Sea of Oman have heightened geopolitical tensions in the Indo-Pacific region, heading into the late year, reported Reuters.
China has just transited its new aircraft carrier through the Taiwan Strait on Thursday, according to a statement via Taiwan's defense ministry.
More naval activity is expected on Friday when China, Iran, and Russia conduct a naval war drill in the Sea of Oman.
The joint Naval Drill of #Iran, #China & #Russia, Named Maritime Safety Belt, aimed at promoting regional security, will be started on 27 December 2019 in waters of Sea of Oman & northern Indian Ocean for 4 days:— Iran_Newsroom (@Iran_NewsRoom) December 25, 2019
Spokesman for General Staff of Iranian Armed Forces, Shekarchi. pic.twitter.com/ErM34bekSZ
China's defense ministry spokesman Wu Qian told journalists on Thursday that China will send a guided-missile destroyer for the exercise.
The exercise is expected to last through the weekend and into early next week.
"The drill, which is to start on Saturday, will be the first such trilateral exercise as Tehran seeks to boost military cooperation with Beijing and Moscow amid unprecedented economic sanctions from Washington. Visits to Iran by Russian and Chinese naval representatives have also stepped up in recent years.
Iranian military spokesman Gen. Abolfazl Shekarchi said the joint maneuvers, which are aimed at promoting regional security, will extend as far as the Sea of Oman. The drill is seen as a response to recent US maneuvers with its regional ally Saudi Arabia, in which China also participated," AP said.
Wu said the exercise is a "normal military exchange" between the three countries and follows all international protocols.
The exercise will be held in the Sea of Oman, a body of water that borders the Strait of Hormuz, where 20% of the world's oil transits through, on chemical tankers.
The Strait is one of the world's most significant chokepoints because of the large amount of shipping volume that transits through the passage. If the waterway were closed because of threats of ongoing attacks, then it would paralyze the world's economy in a very short period.
The exercise allows China, Iran, and Russia to display their increasing naval power to Washington.
The drill is also occurring at a time when Washington and Tehran have had a breakdown in communication, and tensions soared in Sept. when Iran supposedly attacked a Saudi Aramco oil-processing facility at Abqaiq and Khurais in eastern Saudi Arabia with cruise missiles and drones.
A power struggle is underway in the Indo-Pacific region where China, Iran, and Russia have possibly formed an alliance as a rising power to challenge the status quo power, which is the US.