China and Russia have signed an agreement to work together in maritime law enforcement following a meeting that took place in a Russian city inside the Arctic Circle, not far from the border with new Nato member Finland.
China’s coastguard and Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Tuesday, according to state media. The details of the agreement have not been disclosed. State broadcaster CCTV said the agreement was the outcome of a two-day meeting between the Chinese coast guard and the FSB that concluded on Tuesday. According to CCTV, the two sides said they would “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 two sides said they would implement the consensus reached by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin at their meetings. The two leaders described the ties between the countries as a “no-limits” partnership in a joint statement signed in 2022. The meeting took place in the city of Murmansk in northwestern Russia, located within the Arctic Circle and close to the Finnish border.
Russia conducted an Arctic rescue exercise earlier this month organized by its emergency ministry, with participants from nine unnamed African, Latin American and Eurasian countries and observers from at least 13 countries. Russian naval forces also held large-scale military drills. To counter Nato, Russia has encouraged non-Arctic nations – including India, Iran and Saudi Arabia – to expand their commercial presence in the region through investment in shipping routes, natural gas projects, power plants and other projects.
China, which has observer status in the Arctic Council, has also been increasing its presence in the region. China has the world’s second-biggest coastguard. It focuses on maritime law enforcement, including fishery patrols, ship inspection and policing, search and rescue, and anti-smuggling and anti-piracy operations. The Chinese and Russian militaries have conducted multiple joint exercises in recent years, including joint naval operations in the Pacific and Sea of Japan.
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