Russia and China have completed naval drills in the East China Sea, after a week of joint exercises which included practising how to capture an enemy submarine with depth charges and firing artillery at a warship, Russia’s defence ministry said.

The December 21-27 exercises, entitled ‘Maritime Interaction-2022’, included Russia’s Pacific Fleet and were carried out in waters off Zhoushan and Taizhou in China’s Zhejiang Province, China’s official Xinhua news agency said.

‘Detachments of warships of the Pacific Fleet and the Naval Forces of the People’s Liberation Army of China have completed practical tasks within the framework of the bilateral naval exercise,’ Russia’s defense ministry said. ‘The ships of the two countries, with the support of anti-submarine aviation, jointly searched for a submarine of a conditional enemy and fired a volley of jet depth charges,’ the ministry said.

The ministry published video showing a group of Russian and Chinese warships in the East China Sea, with Russian sailors speaking in Mandarin to their Chinese counterparts and Russian ships firing missiles.

Once the leader in the global Communist hierarchy, Russia after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union is now a junior partner to a resurgent China, which already leads in some 21st century technologies.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping is due to speak to President Vladimir Putin before the end of the year, TASS news agency said.

China’s military sent 71 planes and seven ships toward Taiwan in a 24-hour display of force directed at the self-ruled island, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said Monday.  

The People’s Liberation Army said it had conducted a ‘strike drill’ on Sunday in response to unspecified ‘provocations’ and ‘collusion’ between the United States and the self-ruled islands. 

Data from Taiwan’s defense ministry showed the drill was one of the largest since they started releasing daily tallies.

Forty-seven of the sorties crossed into the island’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), the third-highest daily incursion on record, according to AFP’s database.

Taiwan, a self-governing democracy, lives under constant threat of invasion by China, which claims the democratic island as part of its territory, to be taken one day.

In September, President Biden went on the record and said US forces would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion. The statement drew an angry response from China.

Biden said during a CBS 60 Minutes interview that US forces would defend Taiwan, ‘if in fact, there was an unprecedented attack,’ Reuters reported.

The President appeared to go beyond long-standing stated US policy on Taiwan. The US has stuck to a policy of ‘strategic ambiguity’ – not making clear on whether it would respond with their forces if there was an attack on Taiwan, the news outlet said.

Beijing has ramped up military, diplomatic and economic pressure on Taiwan under President Xi Jinping as relations have deteriorated.

One of the pressure tactics China has increasingly used is probing Taiwan’s ADIZ with its warplanes.