China, Singapore to hold joint naval drills
China and Singapore will hold joint naval drills this week, Beijing’s defense ministry said.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy will dispatch its frigate Yulin as well as the Chibi minesweeper for the drills, which will take place around Singapore from “end-April to early May,” the ministry said in a statement.
The two countries agreed last year to hold the drills at a meeting of defense ministers, though details were not announced at the time.
Singapore regularly conducts drills with countries from the region and around the world, with personnel from the city-state taking part in the massive Cobra Gold exercises with US soldiers in Thailand in March.
The announcement comes days after the US Commander of the Pacific Air Forces met with Singapore’s defense minister Ng Eng Hen to discuss enhanced cooperation in military training.
Chinese Navy representatives will also participate in the IMDEX Asia naval and maritime defense expo in Singapore next month, the ministry said.
The Southeast Asian country has for decades juggled ties with rival powers in the region, engaging in an increasingly delicate balancing act as China asserts its might across the Asia-Pacific.
Foreign ministers from Group of 7 industrialized nations warned this month against “China’s expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea,” while tensions have soared in the Taiwan Strait with Beijing brandishing its firepower in recent drills aimed at intimidating Taipei.
China and Singapore have previously held naval exercises in the South China Sea, including multiple joint exercises in 2021.