On Friday we reported that for the first time in history, Chinese and Russian navies will begin a significant joint naval exercise in The Mediterranean Sea in mid-May.
Citied by RT, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said that "The aim is to deepen both countries' friendly and practical cooperation, and increase our navies' ability to jointly deal with maritime security threats," but diplomatically added "these exercises are not aimed at any third party and have nothing to do with the regional situation."
Against a background of this week's "upgraded Japan-American military relationship" following Abe's visit to Obama, as one analyst notes, "the geopolitical significance of its exercising alongside Russia will not be lost on the U.S. and NATO."
While it was unclear if directly related to the upcoming "historic" drill, the Bosphorus Navy Blog reports that in what is a comparable "first" yesterday two warships from Peoples Republic of China were seen passing through the Bosphorus, and entering the Black Sea.
Two Jiangkai II (type 054A) class frigates 550 Weifang and 547 Linyi from PLAN North Sea Fleet made a northbound passage through the Turkish Straits. The destination of these Chinese ships were not disclosed.
The frigates shown below, as they were seen crossing the naval barrier between Europe and Asia:
Chinese frigate 547 Linyi passing through Bosphorus. Photos: Nurderen Özbek and Yörük I??k.
Chinese frigate 547 Linyi passing through Bosphorus. Photo:
Chinese frigate 550 Weifang passing through Bosphorus. Photo: Nurderen Özbek.
Chinese frigate 550 Weifang passing through Bosphorus. Photo: Yörük I??k
NATO promptly responded and hours ago AP reported that a top NATO commander said the alliance will briefly move its allied joint force command from Italy to Romania - which has a historic Black Sea port in the town of Constanta - as NATO continues to react to Russia's moves in Ukraine.
Admiral Mark Ferguson, Commander of Allied Joint Force Command based in Naples, Italy, said the command will be based in Cincu, central Romania, for 12 days in June, to support a NATO exercise involving 1,000 troops from 21 NATO states.
Cincu is Romania's largest military shooting range, some 180 kilometers (112 miles) northwest of Bucharest.
"This deployment will be the first time a NATO Joint Force Command Headquarters has deployed to Romania," Ferguson said Tuesday.
At the same time, NATO will conduct exercises in Poland, the Baltics and the Baltic Sea.
As a reminder, in the summer of 2013 when the Syria war tensions saw a build of US, Russian and even Chinese ships in the Mediterranean ahead of what could be the first global Middle East war. The war was avoided in the last minute. This time the naval build up is taking place even closer to both Europe and Russia, and now even China is present.