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China, Iran, Russia to hold joint naval drills in Gulf of Oman

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BEIJING (PTI): China, Russia and Iran will hold trilateral naval exercises in the Gulf of Oman from Friday, the first such move by the three countries in the volatile Middle East.

The trilateral exercise will be held in the Gulf of Oman from December 27 to 30, China's Defence spokesman Col Wu Qian told a media briefing here.

The Chinese Navy has sent a guided missile destroyer to participate in the drills, he said, adding that the exercise aims to deepen the exchanges and cooperation between the navies of the three countries and demonstrating the goodwill and ability of the three parties to jointly maintain world peace and maritime security.

The Gulf of Oman borders Iran and Pakistan on the north, Oman on the south, the United Arab Emirates on the west and faces the Gujarat coast.

Wu declined to directly respond to a question whether the drills were anyway connected to recent tensions in the region and US naval drills.

This joint maritime exercise is normal military arrangement of these countries. It is not relevant to the regional tensions," he said.

Defending the drills, an article in the state-run Global Times on Thursday said commentaries in the western media on the trilateral drill mostly focussed on tensions between Iran and the US, Iran and Saudi Arabia, as well as ties among Iran, China and Russia, all identified as competitors by the US as the three powers showcase their unity .

The exercise is aimed at the security of regional shipping lanes and holding forces that threaten regional security in awe. It should not be interpreted and hyped in a geopolitical sense," it said.

China has no intention to be involved in the disputes in the Middle East, let alone picking a side in the region .No country should require China to develop a cooperative relationship that is exclusive. China also does not encourage any country to use its China ties as a card to deal with its relations with any third party , it said.

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China  Iran  Russia  Navy  
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