ZHANJIANG (China), September 12. /TASS/. Russia and China are on Monday launching joint naval drills Sea Cooperation-2016 in the South China Sea.
Eighteen ships and support vessels, 21 aircraft, over 250 marines and 15 units of military equipment are involved in the drills. The Russian group includes Admiral Vinogradov and Admiral Tributs Udaloy-class destroyers, Peresvet battleship, Alatau rescue boat and Pechenga sea tanker.
The active phase of Sea Cooperation drills will be held on September 15-19. The Russian Defense Ministry said earlier that the marines of the two countries would practice defending ships, saving and liberating ships.
According to Chinese Deputy Navy Commander Vice Admiral Wang Hai, the joint naval drills facilitate increasing potential of Moscow and Beijing in the sphere of security.
"We will carefully participate in the drills with the aim of fulfilling the tasks set by our leaders. Holding the drills in the conditions maximally close to combat, is aimed at increasing the potential in the sphere of our common security," he said at the ceremony of meeting the ships that participate in the drills.
"We hope that the crews will learn from each other and strengthen friendly cooperation," he noted.
The first Sea Cooperation drills were held on April 22-27, 2012 in the Yellow Sea near the city of Qingdao in the eastern Chinese province of Shandong province. Twenty-five ships and submarines, 13 planes, nine helicopters and two special forces units took part in the drills.