China, Russia begins naval drills


China and Russia began naval drills near North Korea amid continuing tensions over the isolated state’s nuclear ambitions and ahead of a United Nations General Assembly meeting this week, where North Korea is likely to loom large.

North Korea had launched a missile over Japan last week, its second in the past three weeks, and has conducted its sixth and by far most powerful nuclear test on September 3 in defiance of international pressure.

The joint exercises will take place between Peter the Great Bay, just outside of the Russian far eastern port of Vladivostok—not far from the Russia–North Korea border—and into the southern part of the Sea of Okhotsk which is to the north of Japan. The drills are the second part of China–Russian naval exercises this year, the first part of which took place in the Baltic in July.

A week ago, the 15 member UN Security Council unanimously adopted its ninth sanctions resolution since 2006 over North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

Pyongyang has launched dozens of missiles as it accelerates a weapons programme designed to provide the ability to target the United States with a powerful, nuclear-tipped missile.