In recent months, the United States, and its allies, have stepped up large-scale naval exercises in the Pacific, sometimes near the China Sea or Taiwan, which repeatedly angered Beijing. Until now, Chinese naval responses have been limited to the deployment of small flotillas usually composed of a Type 052D destroyer and a Type 054A anti-submarine warfare frigate, accompanied by a supply ship. Since then, the massive exercise bringing together 5 Chinese ships, including a Type 055 cruiser, and 5 Russian ships, including two Udaloy-class anti-submarine destroyers, around Japan in recent days, sounds like a new step in the escalation of tensions in this already very tense area.
On October 18, a fleet made up of Cruiser Type 055 Nanchang, destroyer Type 052D Kunming, Type 054A anti-submarine frigates Binzhou and Liuzhou, and the Dongpinghu Type 903A supply vessel, joined a Russian fleet of Udaloy-class anti-submarine destroyers Admiral Panteleev and Admiral Tributs, from two project 20380 Steregushiy frigates Hero of the Russian Federation Aldar Tsydenzhapov and Gromkiy and the Marshal Nedelin-class intelligence vessel Marshal Krylov, to cross the Tsugaru pass and bypass the Japanese archipelago to the east, heading southwest.
This is the first time that such a gathering of Sino-Russian naval force has been observed, which is moreover close to the Japanese coasts, the Japanese forces dispatching several destroyers and maritime patrol planes to follow the fleet along its route. . It is also the first time that Beijing has deployed one of its new Type 055 cruisers, ships of more than 12.000 tons carrying more than a hundred vertical silos and having a firepower comparable to that of the most imposing Western ships. like the American Arleigh Burke destroyers or South Korean Seijong the Great, in a multi-national exercise. The message conveyed by this deployment of force is therefore perfectly clear, since if the United States can rely on powerful allies in the Pacific, such as Japan, South Korea and even India, Beijing and Moscow are now common cause in this theater.
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