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Q&A: Chinese and Russian Warships are in South Africa for First-Ever Naval Exercises. Should the U.S. be Worried?

People's Liberation Army Navy 054A frigate PLA Yueyang an identical vessel as to what will be used in the upcoming naval exercise with Russian and South African forces. File photo.

Chinese and Russian warships arrived in Cape Town harbor over the weekend to take part in Exercise Mosi, the first-ever joint naval exercises among these three countries that will take place this week. The exercise will be divided into two parts: a media phase that starts today and runs through Wednesday, November 27. Then, beginning on Thursday, November 28, the ships will head out to sea for the two-day exercise, according to a press release from the South African Department of Defence.

Officially, the three navies say Exercise Mosi is designed to “enhance interoperability and maritime security“, standard objectives for these kinds of joint exercises. What isn’t being said, though, is what message all three of these countries are trying to telegraph to the United States?

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