Chinese Defense: Military drills in Gulf of Oman unrelated to regional situation


Fri, 29-03-2024 01:30 AM, Aden Time

Aden (South24) 

The spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Defense, Wu Qian, told a press conference on Thursday that the joint naval drills conducted by China, Russia, and Iran recently in the Gulf of Oman were not directed against other countries, according to a report by Russian state-owned news agency TASS.

"These drills are not directed against any specific country and have nothing to do with the regional situation," the spokesman said.

He stressed that China, Russia, and Iran have previously conducted several joint drills that "have large significance for closer cooperation and exchanges among the navies of the three countries and joint regional maritime security provision."

On March 14, the Russian Ministry of Defense reported that warships from the Russian, Chinese, and Iranian naval forces had concluded the active phase of their joint naval exercise Maritime Security Belt 2024 in the Gulf of Oman.

The drills took place as attacks conducted by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia continued to target commercial ships and American forces in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. 

Meanwhile, Russian warships from the Pacific Fleet have crossed the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait and entered the Red Sea, the state-run Tass news agency said, venturing into a maritime region plagued by Houthi attacks and crowded with naval vessels.

The detachment included the missile cruiser Varyag and frigate Marshal Shaposhnikov, Tass reported Thursday, citing the Russian Pacific Fleet’s press service, which said the ships were carrying out “assigned tasks within the framework of the long-range sea campaign.” The ultimate destination of the ships was unclear from the report, as was the reason Russia sent vessels to the area, according to bloomberg.

On March 14, Houthi leader Abdulmalik Al-Houthi announced that the scope of attacks would expand toward the Indian Ocean in an attempt to prevent the passage of Israeli or Israel-linked ships to the South African Cape of Good Hope.

The Houthi announcement coincided with the publishing of a report by Russian news agency RIA Novosti, in which an unknown military source close to the Houthis claimed that the Yemeni militia possessed a hypersonic missile.

On March 16, Houthi leader Ali Al-Qahhoum said in a post on X, “We are developing our relationship with China and Russia and exchanging expertise and experiences to drown America and Britain in the Red Sea".

However, experts have cast doubt on the existence of any such relationship between the Houthis and Russia or China.

On Saturday, the Houthis attacked the Huang Pu tanker in the Red Sea. US Central Command reported that it was a Chinese ship, but in a statement on Tuesday, Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea said it was British.

South24 Center

YemenGulf of OmanAdenRed SeaHouthisChinaUKUSRussiaIranNavy