A Chinese naval fleet held the first of two planned military exercises with the Russian Navy in the Baltic Sea over the weekend, with another show of force scheduled days after U.S. President Donald Trump's visit to NATO ally Poland next month.
Chinese state media said three ships, headed by the Changsha missile destroyer, linked up with Russian vessels near St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad on June 18, with the next exercise, which will include Chinese marines and ship-borne helicopters, scheduled for late July.
Trump is scheduled to visit Poland, which is on the Baltic Sea, on July 5-6 ahead of a G20 summit in Germany.
The Russian-Chinese Joint Sea exercises occur regularly, with another drill scheduled for mid-September in the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk.
China and Russia hold similar views on many international issues, including the crises in North Korea and Syria, which often puts them at odds with the United States and Western Europe.
Previous joint military exercises have also been held in politically sensitive areas, including the South China Sea, where China has made territorial claims that conflict with those of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam.