Such exercises do not represent anything new. They have occurred in the past under the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, of which Russia and China are members. The members are: China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan
The bonds of cooperation, respect and comradeship between Russia and China reach deep into history.
These bonds are literally miles wide...
and a coat of paint deep.
China and Russia have mutual interests and mutual conflict. Both see the USofA as an over reaching Hegemon that needs to be pushed back away from both countries' borders. The Senkaku Island dispute is a left over from the Cold War- little of Japan's other Imperial claims are upheld but since china is 'commie'...
fact is we wouldn't sit still if China supported Mexico's claim for California's off shore Islands, the Chinese are not going to continue allowing other nations to claim islands so close to their coastline.
Back to the loving bonds of mutual respect China and Russia have... those are about as real as 'Reality' TV's Bachelor romances.
Fact is Far East Siberia will be a hot spot for Russia and China. China still feels the far east was 'stolen' from them. Chinese immigrants are flooding into the Far East as traders and workers, the Chinese are beginning to outnumber ethnic Russians who are leaving the region after the collapse of the USSR. Could be Russia is feeling it's own version of our southern border- the challenge being can Russia absorb the Chinese and have the immigrants support Russian policy so far from Moscow.
Right now Putin needs to distract the USofA, and while China isn't a real threat Russia doesn't have a large number of powerful allies to select from.
The USofA gains nothing by opposing claims made by the Chinese in the- and read this slowly... in the South CHINA Sea. The more we push back the larger the chance of regional conflict that does nothing to stabilize the region, protect USofA interests and increases the chances many more Americans die so far from our borders.
Putin is playing checkers... this isn't a masterful chess move... more like a desperate attempt to get a few CON tongues wagging...
Be very careful indeed.
"A fair exchange ain't no robbery." Tupac Shakur w/Digital Underground