Naval forces from China, Iran and Russia — countries at odds with the United States — are staging joint drills in the Gulf of Oman this week, China’s Defense Ministry said Tuesday.
Other countries are also taking part in the “Security Bond-2023” exercises, the ministry said without giving details. Iran, Pakistan, Oman and the United Arab Emirates all have coastline along the waterbody lying at the mouth of the strategic Persian Gulf.
“This exercise will help deepen practical cooperation between the participating countries’ navies … and inject positive energy into regional peace and stability,” the ministry statement said.
U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said Wednesday that the White House was not concerned by the joint training exercise. Kirby said the U.S. and other nations conduct training exercises all the time and this won’t be the first time that the Russians and Chinese have trained together.
“We’re going to watch it, we’ll monitor it, obviously, to make sure that there’s no threat resulting from this training exercise to our national security interests or those of our allies and partners in the region,” Kirby said on CNN. “But nations train. We do it all the time. We’ll watch it as best we can.”