Former enemies China and Russia have begun their first joint military exercises. The two countries’ military chiefs said the eight days of war games were not meant to intimidate anyone, rather they were designed to strengthen ties between the nations.
Once Cold War foes, the bonds between Moscow and Beijing have grown closer, due in part to China’s efforts to tap into Russia’s energy resources to feed its booming economy. But some analysts believe the air, sea and land drills are a defensive move prompted by the United States’ growing involvement in Central Asia. There is also speculation that China could be using the simulated operations as a warning to Washington and Tokyo not to intervene in any military conflict between the mainland and Taiwan, which China claims as its own.