Beijing’s defense spokesman Wu Qian said Thursday that the drill was a “normal military exchange” between the three armed forces and is was in line with international law and practices.
The drill was not necessarily connected with the regional situation, Wu added.
“The upcoming naval drills are aimed at deepening exchange and cooperation among the navies of the three countries, and displaying the three sides’ strong will and capabilities to jointly maintain world peace and maritime security, while actively building a maritime community with a shared future,” he said.
Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday Iranian Armed Forces Brig. Gen. Abolfazl Shekarchi said the joint drills with China and Russia would be held in both the northern Indian Ocean and the Sea of Oman.
“The Indian Ocean and the Sea of Oman are among the world’s key trade routes and many countries commute in the (two) regions and therefore establishing security there is important and vital,” Shekarchi said.
The Gulf of Oman connects to the Strait of Hormuz, through which roughly 30% of the world’s sea-borne crude oil passes. Shekarchi added that the military exercises are aimed at increasing power and experience to ensure international trade security in the region.
The joint drills are likely to be perceived as provocative by Washington and US President Donald Trump, who earlier this year proposed a US-led naval mission to the Gulf of Oman to protect economic interests in the region.
“Russia, Syria, and Iran are killing, or on their way to killing, thousands of innocent civilians in Idlib Province. Don’t do it!” Trump wrote.