The Chinese Army is considered one of the biggest military forces in the world, but has no experience in modern combat since it has not engaged in any military operation since its conflict in 1979 with Vietnam, unlike Russia’s vast war time experience.
According to experts in interviews with the South China Morning Post newspaper, China’s participation in the Russian Vostok 2018 maneuvers is “a rare opportunity to learn.” For these maneuvers, China will send approximately 3,200 military personnel, 1,000 combat vehicles and 30 aircraft.
In Vostok 2018 maneuvers China intends to study the tactical and strategic experience accumulated by Russia in the Syrian conflict, since the Chinese Army has not entered into combat for decades. Russia, for its part, will share for the first time with a partner some of its military instructions used after analyzing the Syrian conflict.
The Chinese participation in the Russian maneuvers involves a number of political objectives on both sides, for accepting the invitation to China would be sending a message of diplomatic support to the Russian president. In addition, for Russia these maneuvers will serve as a response to NATO and European Union plans involving the creation of a “military Schengen” with the aim of combating Russia in Europe, said Zhou Chenming, a military expert.
Another aim of the Vostok maneuvers would be to demonstrate the high level of cooperation between Russia and China, which the United States regards as its “rivals,” said Jonathan Holslag of the Free University of Brussels.
Meanwhile, according to Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian, the maneuvers aim to strengthen and develop comprehensive strategic cooperation relations between Russia and China, as well as deepen friendly pragmatic cooperation between the two armed forces countries and is not directed against third parties. But this remains highly unlikely since both China and Russia are targeted by US imperialism in their respective zones of influence.