Chinese warships have conducted live-fire drills in the Mediterranean Sea as they make their way toward a scheduled joint exercise with Russian Navy ships in the Baltic Sea.
The Chinese Defense Ministry said on July 12 that three naval vessels participated in the drill, which involved deck guns.
The ships are expected to proceed to the Joint Sea-2017 exercise with Russia to be held off the Russian port cities of Kaliningrad and St. Petersburg. The shores of the three Baltic states, all NATO members, lie between the two cities.
Earlier this month, China dispatched personnel to begin construction of its first foreign military base, which is planned for the country of Djibouti on the Horn of Africa.
Beijing has signed a deal with Djibouti allowing it to base up to 10,000 military personnel at the base until at least 2026. The purpose of the base, China says, is to facilitate peacekeeping and humanitarian missions in Africa, was well as to support joint military exercises and help secure strategic shipping lanes.
The United States, France, Japan, Italy, and Spain already have bases in Djibouti. Saudi Arabia is building one.