US rivals China, Russia and Iran will hold joint naval exercises this week in the Gulf of Oman off Iran’s southern coast, China’s defense ministry announced.
The People’s Republic of China said on Tuesday that other undisclosed countries would participate in the so-called “Security Bond-2023” military exercise. Iran, Pakistan, Oman and the United Arab Emirates each have coastlines that touch the gulf, which is strategically located at the mouth of the Persian Gulf.
“The exercise will help deepen practical cooperation among the navies of the participating countries… and inject positive energy into regional peace and stability,” the ministry statement said.
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The exercise will begin on Wednesday and will continue till March 19. They come as US relations with each nation have deteriorated – Russia has provoked sanctions from the US and its allies by invading Ukraine, China has refused to criticize Moscow and aided in defiance of the Russian economy. Used to be. The West has no ties to speak of, and in the case of Iran. The US and Iran have been bitter rivals since the establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979 and the taking of American hostages.
China has sent a guided missile destroyer to Nanning to participate in exercises focused on search and rescue at sea and other non-combat operations.
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The three countries held similar military exercises last year and in 2019, as China sought to strengthen its ties with the US and expand its influence in the Middle East to gain access to energy and hydrocarbons from the region Was.
China mediated a deal struck on Friday between Iran and Saudi Arabia to end years of hostilities and reset diplomatic ties, following previously undisclosed meetings in Beijing between the rival powers’ top security officials.
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While the US and Saudi Arabia have long had military and political ties, relations were soured by the 2018 murder of US journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was critical of the kingdom’s leadership and production cuts by the OPEC+ oil cartel. was done, which the administration had said. Helping Russia
Fox News’ Peter Aitken and The Associated Press contributed to this report.