The United States says the joint exercises do not pose a new threat, but that deepening ties between rival states will be “monitored”.
Naval forces from China, Iran and Russia are holding joint exercises in the Gulf of Oman this week, Beijing said, amid heightened tensions with the United States.
“This exercise will help deepen practical cooperation between the navies of participating countries… and inject positive energy into regional peace and stability,” China’s Ministry of National Defense said in a statement on Wednesday.
He added that other countries were also participating in the “Security Bond-2023” exercises, without providing details.
Iran, Pakistan, Oman and the United Arab Emirates all have coastlines along the Gulf of Oman, which sits at the mouth of the strategic Persian Gulf.
Beijing has dispatched the guided-missile destroyer Nanning to participate in the drills focusing on sea search and rescue and other non-combat missions. China maintains its only foreign military base, along with a navy dock, in the Horn of Africa country Djibouti, located just across the Gulf of Oman.
The drills scheduled for Wednesday through Sunday come amid heightened tensions between the United States and China over a range of issues, including China’s refusal to criticize Moscow about his invasion of Ukraine and his continued support for the Russian economy.
US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the White House was not involved in the joint training exercise because it was not the first time the Russians and the Chinese trained together.
“We will monitor it, we will monitor it, obviously, to ensure that there is no threat resulting from this training exercise to our national security interests or those of our allies and partners in the region,” he said. said Kirby on CNN. .
“But nations train. We do it all the time. We’ll watch it as best we can.
The three countries held similar drills last year and in 2019, underscoring China’s growing military and political ties with nations that have been largely shunned by the United States and its partners.
The United States and its allies condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, imposed punitive economic sanctions on Russia and provided Ukraine with defensive weapons, while China’s deepening ties with Moscow raised questions about his potential willingness to offer military aid to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Iran and the United States have been adversaries since the founding of the Islamic Republic in 1979 and the taking of American diplomats hostage.
Last week, China hosted talks between Iran and its main rival in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, which resulted in an agreement between them on Friday to restore full diplomatic relations after seven years of tension.
While the United States and Saudi Arabia have long-standing military and political ties, relations frayed after the 2018 murder of a US-based journalist. jamal khashoggia critic of the kingdom’s leadership, and production cuts by the OPEC+ oil cartel which the administration said was helping Russia.
China’s reception of the recent Iranian-Saudi talks placed him in the unusual role of mediator in regional disputes, a role that Beijing seems keen to capitalize on.