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  • National Defense Ministry spokesperson Wu Qian at a press conference, Beijing, China, Dec. 26, 2019.

    National Defense Ministry spokesperson Wu Qian at a press conference, Beijing, China, Dec. 26, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 26 December 2019

Their joint naval exercises are carried out in a maritime area through which 25 percent of global oil consumption passes.

Starting on Friday, China, Iran and Russia will conduct joint naval exercises in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Oman, amid heightened tensions between the United States and the Persian nation.

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China will send its guided-missile destroyer Xining to the drills, which will last until Monday, the Defense Ministry spokesperson Wu Qian announced and added that the exercises are part of normal military cooperation that is online with international law and practices.

Seen from a geopolitical viewpoint, the area where the joint exercises are taking place is potentially very sensitive, for it contains the Strait of Hormuz, which connects the Persian Gulf and the Oman Gulf.

This 90-nautical-miles natural corridor is a highly important location for trade given that 33 percent of the world’s liquefied natural gas and 25 percent of the global oil consumption passes through it.

These four-day wargames would seem to imply that China, Russia, and Iran are forming a coalition in response to the U.S. claim to impose its control in the Persian Gulf and the Oman Sea.

"Russia and China have sent their latest generation warships to the Oman Sea to participate in the military exercises called 'Maritime Safety Belt', which reflects the great importance that Moscow and Beijing give to these maneuvers," the Iranian news agency Fars commented.

After the Persian authorities arrested British freighter Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz, the U.S. attempted to form an international coalition against Iran. This effort, however, failed.

So far, however, the Donald Trump administration maintains an economic, financial and commercial blockade against Iran, a country whose oil reserves have doubled in the last 40 years.​​​​​​​

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