|Arthur Dominic Villasanta |||Sep 19, 2016 02:46 AM EDT|
(Photo : TASS) PLAN Marines wave the Russian flag at Joint Sea 2016.
China and Russia took advantage of their ongoing Joint Sea-2016 naval war games in the South China Sea to bolster combat coordination among their marines, especially in soldier-to-soldier communications.
The joint China-Russia drill involves warships from the People's Liberation Army Navy's (PLAN) South Sea Fleet based at Zhanjiang responsible for operations in the South China Sea, and the Russian Pacific Fleet based at Vladivostok.
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China said both countries deployed destroyers, submarines, fixed wing fighter jets, ship borne helicopters, amphibious assault craft and marines during the exercise from Sept. 12 to 19.
Ominously, both countries conducted "island seizing" operations where their marines attacked "enemy-held" islands in the South China Sea. Men from the PLAN Marine Corps and Russian Naval Infantry (or Russian Marines) also participated in live-fire exercises, defense and landing maneuvers on an unspecified island.
The PLA admitted military exchanges between China and Russia involve more frequent soldier-to-soldier communications.
"In the past, China-Russia joint exercises gave much more attention to the communications between commanders of the two sides. But this time there are more programs involving the exchanges between soldiers," said PLA Senior Colonel Shi Zhigang.
Shi, who was in charge of the Chinese and Russian marines' training programs in the drill, said soldier-to-soldier communications were important to the joint exercise because troops will cooperate better through this kind of training.
"The two navies have already carried out drills in the country's North and East seas, and it's natural that we should have exercises in the South China Sea," he said.
Shi added that it was the duty of China's military to protect "every inch of national territory."
The China-Russia joint naval exercises were held at the South China Sea for the first time in five naval drills. In 2015, they were conducted in the Mediterranean in May and in the Sea of Japan this August.
Shi, leader of the marines' drills, said that the international community should not read too much into the site of exercises.
Sergey Shimankin, a Russian marines' commander, said he hoped Russian troops would hone their combat abilities through the joint exercise.
He spoke highly of the Chinese marines' training and said he expected both sides would cooperate better because of the joint operations.
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