The Russian Vostok-2018, or East-2018, military exercise officially started in Russia on Tuesday, with China participating with about 3,200 troops. A Chinese expert said this move will help the People's Liberation Army (PLA) gain combat experience in joint operations with Russian military forces.
The joint operations are being held at the Tsugol training range in Russia's Trans-Baikal region, the PLA Daily reported on Tuesday.
The exercise is on the strategic level, because of the unprecedented involvement of military personnel and equipment, Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
The PLA can learn a lot from its Russian counterpart in terms of joint operations, as the latter has vast experience from wars in Kosovo, Georgia and Syria, Song noted.
The exercise is not designed to be aggressive, as its background is a "counter-attack against a foreign invasion." Western countries should not read too much into the drill, but they should understand that their aggressive and hostile attitude is pushing China and Russia to cooperate, Song said.