China and Russia maneuvers in the Bohai Bay

The Maritime Safety Administration in Tangshan City in Hebei Province in north China issued a statement that the Chinese naval forces, along with their Russian counterparts, are conducting live-fire exercises from 10-14 July 2023 in the Bohai Bay on the northeastern shore of the country. The Maritime Safety Department in Tangshan City also warned against ships entering the area specified for those joint military exercises with Russian forces. However, the Chinese Ministry of Defense did not officially announce any details about the nature of the military exercises at this particular time with the Russian side. It is also not the first time that China has conducted military maneuvers in the Bohai Bay, as a few months ago, specifically in April, it conducted a number of maneuvers and military exercises for three days, which included simulating the imposition of a “complete encirclement” of Taiwan. The Bohai Bay on the northeastern shore of China is an important and strategic part of China’s security, as well as an important economic port for China, given its proximity to the Chinese capital Beijing and the municipality of Tianjin, which makes it one of the busiest sea lanes in the world. And as an attempt by China and Russia to deliver an important message to the United States of America regarding its warning against approaching the Taiwan Strait or interfering in their affairs, especially with the American planning to establish an “Asian NATO” similar to the NATO military alliance in the North Atlantic. Also, these joint Chinese-Russian maneuvers in the Bohai Bay come with the participation of Russian frigates and military equipment, following joint air exercises by the two countries that took place on June 6, 2023 over the Sea of ​​Japan, known as the East Sea.

  According to the Chinese Ministry of Defense, and in accordance with the agreements of the Russian and Chinese armed forces, the naval forces of China and Russia are conducting that joint navy, under the title “Maritime Security Belt – 2023” in the Bohai Bay. Here, the United States fears an increase in military cooperation between China and Russia.  Therefore, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on several Chinese companies, under the pretext of supporting Iran in manufacturing marches and selling them to Russia for use during the ongoing military operation in Ukraine.  These joint Chinese-Russian moves and alliances come militarily in the face of the United States of America because the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) does not expand to include other countries in the face of China and Russia and to prevent Washington from forming what is known as the Asian NATO in their confrontation, so the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement that:

“The United States of America has no right  to give orders and directives to China, and China never accepts any instructions or even threats and pressures from the United States with regard to Chinese relations around the world, including its relationship with Russia”, as the Chinese warning came, that China’s policy on the Ukrainian issue is summed up in one phrase. Only, it is:“Promoting reconciliation and facilitating negotiations between the two sides”

 On the other hand, in response to these joint Chinese-Russian exercises in the Bohai Bay, Taiwan announced the start of its missile maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait for two days, before preparing for the largest military maneuvers operation on the Taiwanese island.

  According to my belief, these military maneuvers in the Bohai Bay come in accordance with the instructions of the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, when he declared planning for war and fighting, when he visited military units in a tense area near Taiwan. Therefore, China and Russia decided to conduct joint military maneuvers and exercises in the Bohai Bay, given its strategic importance to China, in the period from 10 to 14 July, bearing in mind that they are exercises with live ammunition in the Bohai Bay, to draw the world’s attention to the strength of military relations between China and Russia.  In the face of any external interference in their confrontation.

  For this reason, Chinese President Xi Jinping assured the military personnel of the Chinese army, prior to the start of military operations in the Bohai Bay, during his inspection of the Eastern Field Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, that they must train professionally and skillfully to fight, and resolutely defend sovereignty. China’s national and regional security, especially in the Taiwan Strait, and preventing any external interference or infiltration into it.  President Xi asserted that: “the world has entered a new era of turmoil and change, and the security situation surrounding China has become more turbulent”.

Dr.Nadia Helmy
Dr.Nadia Helmy
Associate Professor of Political Science, Faculty of Politics and Economics / Beni Suef University- Egypt. An Expert in Chinese Politics, Sino-Israeli relationships, and Asian affairs- Visiting Senior Researcher at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES)/ Lund University, Sweden- Director of the South and East Asia Studies Unit