China and Russia sign maritime law enforcement agreement
China and Russia have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to work together in the field of maritime law enforcement. This collaboration follows a two-day meeting held in the Russian city of Murmansk, within the Arctic Circle and close to Finland’s border, a new NATO member.
The agreement between China’s coastguard and Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) was signed on Tuesday, as reported by state media, although the specifics of the arrangement have not yet been divulged. Both parties attended the signing ceremony, with Chinese coastguard chief Yu Zhong and Vladimir Grigorovich Kulishov, first deputy FSB director and head of its border service, representing their respective nations.
China’s state broadcaster, CCTV, stated that the two sides vowed to “actively promote maritime law enforcement cooperation, join hands to build a maritime community of destiny, and make every effort to serve the comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation between China and Russia in the new era.” The collaboration aims to implement the consensus established by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin during previous meetings. In a joint statement signed in 2022, the two leaders proclaimed their relationship to be a “no-limits” partnership.
Moreover, the Chinese delegation was allowed to observe a Russian Arctic maritime exercise during their visit. The Arctic region has experienced an upsurge in military activity, with both Finland and Sweden pursuing membership in the NATO transatlantic security alliance.
In response to NATO’s expansion, Russia has reached out to non-Arctic nations, including India, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, to encourage investment in shipping routes, natural gas projects, power plants, and other ventures to increase their commercial presence in the region. As an observer in the Arctic Council, China has also sought to heighten its influence in the Arctic.
China’s coastguard, the world’s second-largest, is primarily focused on maritime law enforcement activities, such as fishery patrols, ship inspections, policing, search and rescue initiatives, as well as anti-smuggling and anti-piracy operations. Over the years, the Chinese and Russian militaries have engaged in numerous joint exercises, including combined naval operations in the Pacific and the Sea of Japan.
With this new commitment to maritime law enforcement cooperation, China and Russia hope to further solidify their strategic partnership while simultaneously addressing shared concerns and interests in the Arctic region. The strengthening of this alliance signals a potentially transformative shift in the geopolitical landscape as NATO seeks to expand its presence and influence in the contested Arctic territory, reports Bangkok Post.
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