China, Russia and Iran will hold a maritime joint exercise, media reported on Tuesday, citing the Russian navy's Pacific Fleet, without releasing a specific time for the drill.
It is not the first time for the three countries to hold similar joint exercises. In 2019, the Chinese Navy, together with its Russian and Iranian counterparts, conducted a four-day military drill on the Gulf of Oman to deepen cooperation between the navies of the three countries. The drill also conveys a goodwill gesture and exhibits China's ability to maintain world peace and maritime security, according to Chinese military officials.
"The three sides need to enhance cooperation in non-traditional security areas, especially in maritime security, as currently some countries continue to cause trouble in the sea, which is apparently a violation of international law," Song Zhongping, a Chinese military commentator, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
It is vital for China, Russia and Iran to ensure the safety of international shipping. Most of Russia's international trade is carried by ship. Iran also relies on shipping for its oil exports. China's imports of oil, gas and foreign trade depend on shipping as well, Song explained.
To ensure the safety of shipping is to safeguard the economic security of the three countries. Therefore, it is normal to see China, Russia and Iran cooperate with their navies, and especially in their joint efforts against regional hegemony and sea pirates, Song noted.
When reporting the joint drill by the three countries in 2019, some US media said it was conducted by "three of America's biggest adversaries." Others speculated that the exercise indicated that Beijing was roping in Tehran and Moscow to form a threesome of "autocracies" and "rally against democracy."
Cooperation among China, Russia and Iran is centered on mutual benefits and win-win relations, rather than forming an alliance and engaging in confrontation. For example, Iran can provide China with much-needed oil, and hopes to increase its economic strength by expanding its energy exports, experts noted.