The United States will closely monitor Russia’s annual military exercises in Vostok next week, with China’s participation, US National Intelligence Director Dan Coats said at an event in Maryland on Tuesday.
“We will see how China participates this year in Russia’s largest annual military exercise, Vostok 2018, which begins next week,” Coats said at an event hosted by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association.
The Vostok-2018 war exercises will be the largest military exercises conducted by Russia in 37 years and will be held from 11 to 17 September.
The US intelligence chief said China’s participation in the exercises signals a growing level of cooperation between the two nations.
Coats added that Washington believes that Russia is working on expanding its activities into new areas, with special attention to relations with China.
The intelligence chief said Washington now has a greater understanding of Beijing’s ambitions beyond its usual area of operations.
Almost 300,000 soldiers will participate in the military exercises of Vostok-2018, alongside tens of thousands of armored vehicles, airplanes and drones. Troops from China and Mongolia will also participate in one of the stages.
These military exercises in Russia occur every four years and are the largest since the 1980s. With the inclusion of China, exercise is seen as a major geopolitical change, as thus Moscow and Beijing are sending a signal to Washington through military cooperation, although China is considered the main threat to the US, according to an article posted by Steve Mollman on Defense One website .
For the joint military exercise, China is sending 30 aircraft, 900 tanks and 3,200 soldiers to the far eastern neighbor.
China’s participation in the exercises later this month illustrates how joint military training is growing in its strategy as it expands its power and influence in the Asia-Pacific region.
In the past year, China has conducted approximately 20 bilateral and multilateral exercises with other military personnel, according to the US Department of Defense. These numbers already include naval exercises in the Baltic Sea with Russia and exercises with Chinese Navy fighters with Pakistan.