Beijing: Russia is our BFF

The top story on Xinhua News Agency’s English website today is: A new era for the China-Russia relationship in 2019, about Xí Jìnpíng 习近平 and Vladimir Putin opening “a new era for their countries’ strategic partnership in 2019, heralding an epoch of greater development in bilateral win-win cooperation.”

The article checks off a list of recent cooperative projects, including:

  • The China-Russia east-route natural gas pipeline.
  • The Tongjiang-Nizhneleninskoye cross-border railway bridge.
  • The Heihe-Blagoveshchensk cross-border highway bridge.
  • Record bilateral trade of over $100 billion in 2018.

But there is no mention of an equally important development in today’s news: China, Russia, and Iran began a four-day joint naval drill in the Gulf of Oman, reports CNN:

China, Russia and Iran began a four-day joint military exercise in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman on Friday… The vessels planned to leave Iran’s Chabahar port in the Gulf of Oman, before being deployed across areas in the north of the Indian Ocean, Second Rear Admiral Gholamreza Tahani said earlier, according to Iran’s state-run Press TV…

The joint drills also serve as a signal to the world that relations between Tehran, Moscow and Beijing have reached a “meaningful” level, Tahani said. He added that it was the first time Iran has held a joint exercise with two major world naval powers at this scale.

Nor does Xinhua mention the November naval drill when China, Russia, and South Africa participated in an “unprecedented joint trilateral sea exercise” sailing out of Cape Town.