BEIJING, Sept. 11 -- China and Russia will stage an eight-day Navy drill in the South China Sea off southern China's Guangdong Province starting Monday, a Chinese Navy spokesperson said Sunday.
The drill, "Joint Sea-2016," will feature Navy surface ships, submarines, fixed-wing aircraft, ship-borne helicopters marine corps and amphibious armored equipment from both navies, according to spokesperson Liang Yang. Most of the Chinese participants will come from the Nanhai Fleet under the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).
Together, Chinese and Russian participants will undertake defense, rescue, and anti-submarine operations, in addition to joint-island seizing missions and other activities, Liang said.
The marine corps, in particular, will carry out live-fire drills, sea crossing and island landing operations, and island defense and offense exercises among others, he said.
Liang said the drill, from Sept. 12-19, is part of an annual program, which aims to consolidate and advance the Sino-Russian comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination, and deepen friendly and practical cooperation between the two militaries.
It will also improve coordination between the two navies on joint defense operations at sea, he said.
Earlier reports in July quoted a Chinese Defense Ministry spokesperson as saying that the drill "does not target any third party."
The annual China-Russia joint naval exercise is the fifth of its kind between the two countries since 2012. The drills were held in 2012 in the Yellow Sea; off the coast of Russia's Far East in 2013; and in the East China Sea in 2014.
In 2015, the drill was conducted in two phases: in the Mediterranean in May and then in the Peter the Great Gulf, the waters off the Clerk Cape, and the Sea of Japan in late August.