More than 2,000 Chinese troops taking part in Vostok-2022 military exercises
The Chinese military's participation in the Vostok-2022(East-2022) military exercises organized by Russia does not target any third party and is intended to safeguard regional peace and stability, experts said.
They said the West is trying to damage China's global public image amid the Ukraine crisis by hyping up China's attendance at the drills and criticizing China-Russia military cooperation as a so-called "threat" to global peace and order.
Li Yongquan, director of the Eurasian Social Development Research at the Development Research Center of the State Council, said the joint military drills were conducted as planned and were definitely not targeting any third party.
"China-Russia ties feature nonalliance, nonconfrontation and nontargeting of any third party, which is a basic principle for all-around international affairs between the two countries," he said, adding that the Russian drills have been conducted frequently and didn't target any other party.
In mid-August, China's Ministry of National Defense said in a statement that the People's Liberation Army's participation in the exercises, which started on Wednesday, was in accordance with the annual cooperation plan between the Chinese and Russian militaries and was not related to the current international or regional situation.
It aims to deepen practical and friendly cooperation among the militaries of participating countries, enhance strategic coordination and strengthen the militaries' ability to cope with various security threats, it said.
More than 2,000 Chinese troops－from the Ground Force, Navy and Air Force affiliated with the Northern Theater Command of the PLA－are taking part in the exercises, according to Xinhua News Agency. They arrived at the drill sites by railway, sea, air and motorized transportation, equipped with over 300 vehicles of various types, 21 airplanes and three warships.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the drills involve a total of 6,000 foreign troops from member states and partners of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Collective Security Treaty Organization of former Soviet republics and other countries.
Xu Tao, a former researcher at China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said the diversity of participating countries fully reflects that the joint exercises are an open military exchange event, not as some Western countries and media have claimed.
The West is trying to do everything to smear and blame China to turn global public opinion against the nation, especially at the time of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, he said.
Xu said Western countries are hegemonic, because they tend to see China-Russia military cooperation as the same as a military alliance. "However, the Vostok-2022 military drills are not the same concept as exercises within Western military blocs," he said.
"China-Russia military cooperation has always been aimed at maintaining regional peace and stability, featuring nonalliance," he added.
The Vostok-2022 exercises, which will continue until Wednesday, involve more than 50,000 troops, 140 aircraft and 60 warships and support vessels.
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin said the drills are defensive in nature and are not directed against any particular states or military alliances.