China and Russia conduct joint exercises in the South China Sea off southern China's Guangdong province.
PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3 ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION Chinese and Russian navies conducted maritime joint operations during the eight-day exercises in the South China Sea off southern China's Guangdong province, state media reported on Sunday (September 18). China's state television CCTV reported that the navies of both countries carried out joint air defence and anti-submarine drills on Saturday (September 17) during the eight-day exercises that kicked off on Monday (September 12) at a time of heightened tension in the contested waters after an arbitration court in The Hague ruling in July against Beijing's claims in the South China Sea. Russia has been a strong backer of China's stance on the arbitration case. China refused to participate in the case and has rejected the ruling. China announced that it had called the "routine" naval exercises in July, saying the drills were intended to strengthen cooperation and were not aimed at any other country. China and Russia are veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council, and have held similar views on many major issues such as the crisis in Syria, often putting them at odds with the United States and Western Europe. Last year, they held joint military drills in the Sea of Japan and the Mediterranean. China claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion of trade moves annually. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have rival claims.