China, Russia and Iran are set to hold joint-naval drills in the Gulf of Oman this week, as tensions between East and West appear to be heating up.
“This exercise will help deepen practical cooperation between the participating countries’ navies,” the Chinese Ministry of National Defence said in a statement on Wednesday, adding that it would “inject positive energy into regional peace and stability.”
China in particular has dispatched one of its guided missile destroyers to participate in the event. It is reportedly focused on search and rescue missions, and other non-combat drills.
The Security Bond 2023 exercises come at a time of hostility between the participant countries and the United States.
There have been heightened tensions between China and America since last month when a suspected Chinese spy balloon was found drifting across the continental United States. After significant controversy, US airforce pilots shot the craft down – a move which China dubbed an “overreaction.”
China, which is aligned with Russia geopolitically, has reportedly been in talks about supplying the Kremlin with drones to aid in its war effort against Ukraine.
Beijing has also urged America to abandon its “Cold War” mentality of assuming everything Russia and China dos is done “with evil intention.”
Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang added that unless the U.S. changes course “there will surely be conflict and confrontation.”
Similarly, tensions have been running high between the US and Russia since the outbreak of the Ukraine war.
This week the Pentagon released footage alleging to show a Russian aircraft dumping fuel on a US drone in international airspace. While the footage doesn’t show the aftermath to this alleged incident, the drone reportedly went down in the Black Sea, with Russia saying that the craft crashed of its own accord after making a sharp manoeuvre.
Secretary of Russia’s Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, said that Russia would be attempting to recover the American drone’s wreckage. Furthermore, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the decision to seize the drone’s parts was a matter for the Russian military.
“If they consider it necessary to do so in the Black Sea for the benefit of our interests and our security, they will do it,” he said.
The Russian Defence Ministry blamed the US of provoking the incident by ignoring flight restrictions that Russia had imposed on the region due to the Ukraine war. They also blamed “the intensification of intelligence activities against the interests of the Russian Federation.”
They added that US’ actions were leading to “escalation” of the situation, and warned that Russia “will respond in kind to all provocations.”
Iran is similarly aligned with Russia, and has been supplying the embattled country with military drones to aid its war effort in Ukraine.
Talks which seek to see Iran dismantle its nuclear program have stalled in recent months, leading to a more fraught relationship between the West and Tehran.