Warships from China, Iran, and Russia joined together Wednesday to begin naval drills in the Gulf of Oman and near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, China’s Defense Ministry announced.
AP reports other countries will also provide naval support in the “Security Bond-2023” exercises, the ministry said without elaborating.
Iran, Pakistan, Oman and the United Arab Emirates all have coastline along the waters lying at the mouth of the Persian Gulf.
“This exercise will help deepen practical cooperation between the participating countries’ navies … and inject positive energy into regional peace and stability,” the ministry statement said.
AP further sets out the exercises scheduled for Wednesday through Sunday come amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and China over a range of issues, including China’s refusal to criticize Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine and continuing support for the Russian economy.
They follow years of other tensions between NATO countries and regional rivals.
Iran Slams UK Proposal for European Naval Mission in Gulf as ‘Hostile’ https://t.co/sRwm1K9Y2Y
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 28, 2019
China has dispatched the guided missile destroyer Nanning as its contribution to the drills built on search and rescue at sea and other non-combat missions.
The three countries held similar drills 12 months ago and in 2019, underscoring China’s growing ties with nations that shun the U.S. and its allies in the region.
Last year a U.S. Navy warship fired a warning flare to repel a speedboat from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) during a tense encounter in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, as Breitbart News reported.
Watch as Iran sends a speedboat to harass the Cyclone-class patrol ship USS Sirocco and Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport USNS Choctaw County in the Strait of Hormuz
U.S. Naval Forces Central Command / U.S. 5th Fleet
The full interaction among all vessels lasted one hour and ended when the IRGC craft departed the area. U.S. Navy ships continued their transit without further incident.
Regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran last week agreed to restore diplomatic relations in an agreement that was brokered by China — a major blow to U.S. efforts to maintain a united front in the Middle East against the Tehran regime, as Breitbart News reported.