China and Russia will hold their first joint naval exercise next year in the northern part of the East Sea, Hong Kong's Phoenix TV reported Monday citing Russian media. China and Russia used to hold joint military exercises on land near their shared border that stretches 4,350 km, but the annual exercise, dubbed "Peace Mission," will be held at sea for the first time in 2011.
It is unclear whether the drill is a response to joint military exercises earlier this year involving U.S., South Korean and Japanese troops. Phoenix TV did not say when the joint drill will take place but reported, "Russia has already prepared a basic training plan and both sides plan to meet early next year to discuss it."
A Russian military expert said the country recently reorganized its military structure from six to four regions, and only troops under the Eastern command will participate in the exercise.
Last year's Peace Mission exercise, held in Khabarovsk, Russia and Shenyang, China, involved around 2,600 soldiers from both sides. Joint drills this September in Kazakhstan involved around 5,000 troops from five countries.