Saturday, April 13, 2024 | 09:59 WIB

Strategic Collaboration for Peace: China-Russia Joint Military Drill

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Jakarta, IO – Recently, the Chinese PLA Northern Theater Command and Russian naval and air forces conducted a joint China-Russia “Northern/Interaction-2023” exercise in the Sea of Japan, as part of their annual cooperation program. The exercise garnered significant attention, as it involved main warships, support ships and naval aviation units from both nations. Key aspects of the exercise included joint fire strike training and coordinated maritime operations, focusing on safeguarding strategic sea passages, enhancing operational capabilities, strengthening strategic coordination and ensuring security in international waters and airspace. Overall, the exercise conveyed three important messages: 

First: the exercise held in the central region of the Sea of Japan and led by China highlighted the countries’ shared concerns about core security and their commitment to securing vital international passage during emergencies. This was not the first instance of China and Russia engaging in military strategic coordination in this area, as they had previously collaborated in various annual strategic exercises.

Second: the exercise took place shortly after a NATO Summit, where China and Russia had been labeled “threats”. The US and its allies expressed concerns about Russia’s actions and perceive China’s ambitions and policies as challenging their interests and freedom of passage. In response, the US, Japan and the ROK conducted joint military exercises in the Sea of Japan, revealing NATO’s strategic intent to extend its influence into the Asia-Pacific region. This ongoing geopolitical context adds significance to China-Russia military cooperation. 

Third: China-Russia strategic military coordination has drawn close scrutiny from the US and its allies, who see it as a potential challenge to their interests. Over the years, China and Russia have conducted numerous joint exercises, including patrols in various regions, indicating their willingness to work together on global security matters. The exercise, therefore, underscores a level of mutual trust between China and Russia, as well as their commitment to maintaining regional and global stability. 

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It is crucial to note that the core of China-Russia relations is based on non-alignment, non-confrontation and refraining from targeting any third parties. Both countries disavow the creation of any “anti-West alliance” and encourage Western nations to abandon nascent “New Cold War” mentalities. Instead, they seek to foster cooperation and stability on an international stage. 

The joint “Northern/Interaction-2023” exercise represents a significant milestone in China-Russia military cooperation, demonstrating their strategic coordination and commitment to global security. As they continue to collaborate, it is essential for other nations to understand the nuanced nature of their partnership and work towards constructive and cooperative international relations. 


Raihan Ronodipuro is a Master’s Degree student in the School of Public Policy & Management at Tsinghua University, China. Previously, he was awarded the Chinese MOFCOM Scholarship and earned a Master of Law in International Relations from the School of International and Public Affairs at Jilin University in China. He serves as an Associate Researcher in the Department of Politics and Security at the Center for Indonesia-China Studies (CICS). He is presently a member of the International Relations Commission at the Directorate of Research and Studies for the Overseas Indonesian Students’ Association Alliance (OISAA) 2022/2023.

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