By Zhang Jie and Liu Yang
Russia's largest military exercise "Vostok-2018" officially kicked off on September 11. According to the consensus reached by China and Russia, the exercise consists of 4 steps, namely, strategic cross-border delivery, drills for commanding organization, operations by real troops, and military parade.
From Sept. 11 to 13, both sides will finish the second and third steps. After the exercise with real troops and live ammunition on Sept. 13, a military parade will be held.
The exercise is widely regarded as a show of force and the profound friendship between China and Russia. However, some Western media manipulate news as “an attempt to sow discord” between China and Russia. Chinese experts said that the Western media underestimated the political wisdom of both countries.
1/3 of Russian troops participate in the exercise.
The reason why this exercise has attracted so much attention is that it is “the largest military exercise since the 'Exercise Zapad-1981' of the Soviet era".
Nearly 300,000 Russian troops, 36,000 tanks and combat vehicles, 1,000 fighter jets, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), as well as 80 warships will participate in the "Vostok-2018", Voice of America (VOA) reported on Sept. 9.
Russia's "Today's Economy" network referred on Saturday to an Israeli analyst that 300,000 troops account for nearly one third of the total Russian armed forces; and the exercise will involve a variety of strategic weapons and various armed services. The Russian military aims to build combat preparedness through this exercise.
Participation of Chinese military attracts attention.
In addition to the large number of participants and the advanced equipment lineup, the debut of Chinese soldiers and their equipment has also attracted a lot of attention.
According to the Chinese Ministry of National Defense, about 3,200 officers and soldiers, more than 900 pieces of weaponry and equipment, and 30 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters of China will participate in the exercise.
The US media reported on Sept. 9 that the joint military exercise does not target any third country according to the briefing held by Russia and China in Moscow on Sept. 6. Igor Korotchenko, the editor-in-chief of the National Defense magazine in Russia, said "This exercise is purely defensive and there is no question of aggression or war preparation. Military observers from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member states are invited to attend the exercise. Although we are not obliged to do so, we still invite them to ensure the openness of the exercise. This exercise aims to ensure defense capability, so we can deal with any challenge and threat at any time." Russian military expert Vasily Kashin said that China’s participation means a higher level of military cooperation between Russia and China than those ordinary joint military exercises which only require specific actions. The joint strategic planning capability of Russian and Chinese troops will be improved through "Vostok-2018".
An anonymous Chinese military expert said in an interview that the exercise reflects a high level of political and military mutual trust. It is indeed a very good learning and exchange opportunity for the Chinese military as this will give us an opportunity to compare the “actual” ourselves with the “required” ones, identify gaps, and learn from the advanced approaches of military powers, said that expert.
Western provocations are not worth refuting.
China’s participation in this super-large-scale Russian exercise has made Western media very unhappy. Some American media even reported that under the framework of "Vostok-2018" military exercise, other Russian military exercises held simultaneously mainly target China, followed by Japan and the US.
Russian Military-Industrial Complex News Network quoted Leonid Ivashov, director of the Russian Academy of Geopolitical Problems that the major threats faced by Russia are in the West. Although the exercise is held in the East, Western strategists must understand that all these military forces can be transferred to other directions at the same time, including the West. This will also have a deterrent effect to NATO’s growing activities.
Chinese military experts said that everyone knows who poses security threat to Russia and who is going to be shocked by Russia’s exercise. In recent years, the US and NATO have been frequently engaging in targeted battlefield construction and equipment pre-positioning in Russia's backyard while frequently confronting Russia in Syria. This has increasingly squeezed Russia's strategic space. Based on all the facts, the provocations of Western media are deemed futile.
Disclaimer: The authors are Zhang Jie and Liu Yang, reporters with the Global Times. The article is translated and edited from Chinese into English by the China Military online. The information, ideas or opinions appearing in this article are those of the author from the Global Times and do not reflect the views of eng.chinamil.com.cn. Chinamil.com.cn does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same. If the article carries photographs or images, we do not vouch for their authenticity.