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Q&A: The Powerful Political Optics of South Africa, China, and Russia Holding Joint Naval Exercises

The guided missile frigate Weifang docked at the Port of Cape Town ahead of joint nval exercises with Russia and South Africa. Photo via Chinese Ambassador Lin Songtian.

After three days of public relations events onshore in the Cape Town harbor, it’s now time for visiting Chinese and Russian warships to head out to sea along with South African vessels for two-days of joint naval exercises. This is the first time these three navies have come together to conduct this kind of drill, highlighting their increasingly close political ties.

The exercises will take place on Thursday and Friday of this week and will include surface gunnery exercises, cross-deck helicopter landings, boarding operations, anti-piracy drills, and disaster control exercises.

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