Russia, China trade naval know-how in drills

Four Russian warships have docked at a Chinese naval base near Qingdao, a port in the south of the country. They are taking a break from guarding vessels in pirate-infested waters near Somalia for joint military drills.

­The Russian-Chinese maneuvers dubbed Naval Cooperation-2012 began in the Yellow Sea this Sunday.  The exercises are designed to build on what both forces have been doing in the past couple of years in the Gulf of Aden to counter piracy.

Both Chinese and Russian warships have escorted civilian convoys off the coast of Somalia. One of the Russian destroyers, Marshal Shaposhnikov, was instrumental in saving the oil-tanker Moscow University a year ago, when it was captured by pirates who held 23 Russian sailors hostage.

Russian destroyers are used to guarding convoys of between five and 14 merchant ships as they travel in the dangerous waters of the Gulf of Aden. The seamen will now learn to make it a joint effort with their Chinese colleagues.

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