China, Saudi Arabia to hold joint naval drills next month: Beijing

AFP , Thursday 28 Sep 2023

China and Saudi Arabia will hold their second-ever joint naval drills next month, Beijing's defence ministry announced Thursday, as China forges deeper ties with the Middle Eastern power.

saudi china
File Photo -Saudi Arabia and China previously held joint naval drills in 2019. Photo courtesy of SPA.


The drills, dubbed "Blue Sword 2023", will take place in China's southern province of Guangdong in October, Beijing said.

"This joint training focuses on overseas maritime counter-terrorism operations, conducting exercises on sniper tactics, boat driving, helicopter landing, and joint rescue," defence ministry spokesperson Wu Qian told a press briefing.

The two countries previously held joint naval drills in 2019, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.

They are "aiming to deepen practical and friendly cooperation between the two militaries and improve the level of practical training for the troops", Wu said.

The exercises come as Beijing forges deeper ties with Riyadh and plays peacemaker in the Middle East.

This year, China brokered a deal that saw longtime regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran agree to restore ties and reopen their respective embassies.

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