China said it would hold naval exercises with Russia and South Africa later this month to protect maritime economic activity.
Beijing’s defense ministry said in a statement on Sunday that the drills would be held in South Africa near Durban and Richards Bay from Feb. 20 to 27, adding that China would send a destroyer, a frigate and a supply ship.
The operations are also aimed at boosting defense and security cooperation among the BRICS countries, the ministry said.
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The drills come as the United States warns China not to provide lethal aid to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken told China’s top diplomat Wang Yi in Munich on Saturday that the U.S. has information that China is considering whether to send aid to Russia, which could include guns and other weapons.