BEIJING, September 23 (ChinaMil) -- The guided missile destroyer "Changchun" and the guided missile frigate "Changzhou" of the 17th escort taskforce under the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) arrived in Iran on September 20, 2014 and will participate in a China-Iran joint maritime exercise. The news attracted attentions from international media.
The International Business Times of the U.S. said that the warships of the Chinese and Iranian navies will hold an unprecedented joint maritime exercise in the Persian Gulf.
Admiral Azad of the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy (IRIN) said in an interview by the Iran's Fars News on September 20, 2014 that a taskforce of the PLAN already arrived at the Port of Bandar Abbas in the Persian Gulf. The two sides of China and Iran get ready to provide support for peace, stability and tranquility, and at the same time, the two sides will also develop their bilateral cooperation. During the PLAN taskforce's visit to Iran, the two sides will study the possibility of carrying out maritime rescue operations and responding to unexpected and unfortunate events.
Not long before, the warships of the IRIN successfully rescued a Chinese container ship named "New Lianyungang" from pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden. The international media successively reported the event and commented that the cooperation between China and Iran in maritime anti-terrorism field is becoming increasingly close.
The Associated Press said that in recent years, the IRIN has enhanced its relations with countries participating in the naval escort missions in the waters in the Gulf of Aden. Not long ago, Iran provided a target-oriented protection for a Chinese merchant ship encountering pirate attacks. Last year, a Russian naval taskforce also visited the Port of Bandar Abbas on its way back after completing its naval escort missions. The relevant exchanges between the Chinese and Iranian navies were also regarded as balancing actions for Iran to strive to maintain the relations with foreign navies participating in the naval escort missions near the Strait of Hormuz.
The "Ming Pao Daily News" of Hong Kong quoted what Huang Dong, president of the Macao International Military Society, said that China is pushing forward its strategy of "going westward" and its future scope of activities will be mainly in the regions such as the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf, which are also China’s maritime energy supply lifelines. Therefore, it is necessary for the Chinese and Iranian navies to hold the joint anti-piracy and rescue exercise. As China and Iran had almost no military exchanges in the past, this is a good start to fill the vacancies of exchanges between the two militaries.
The New York Times held that the Chinese naval taskforce's visit to the Port of Bandar Abbas is an example of the increasingly close relations between China and Iran. China already became a main buyer of Iran's oil, while Iran, which is suffering sanctions from international society due to its nuclear program, uses a main part of the profits from its oil trade to buy China-made products. The report quoted what Seyd, an economist close to the Iranian Government, said that China wants to maintain its much profitable trade relations with Iran.
The China Times of Taiwan reported that after Iran suffered sanctions from western countries and its energy export was restricted, China began to hold a large number of orders for Iran's oil. By the first half of 2014, China's average daily oil import from Iran reached 630,000 barrels, an increase of 48 percent from that of the previous year. Iran already became China's third largest oil supplier with a share of 12 percent in China's total oil import. China already exceeded the European Union to become Iran's first trade partner. It also said that after politely refusing participation in the U.S. coalition to strike the Islamic State of Iraq and al Shams (ISIS), China chose to hold the China-Iran joint military exercise, which showed that China is still testing the water temperature in its Middle East policy and embarking on its own road.