China, UAE to hold first joint aerial drills

The air forces of China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will conduct a joint training exercise in China's Autonomous Region of Xinjiang in August, Beijing announced Monday.

Beijing and Abu Dhabi will hold their first joint air force training, China’s Defense Ministry announced on Monday.

According to the annual plan and the consensus reached between the two sides, the joint air force training will be held in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in August, said a brief statement by the ministry.

It noted that this is the first time for China and the UAE to hold such kind of military exercise which aims at deepening pragmatic exchanges and cooperation between the two militaries and enhancing mutual understanding and trust.

The announcement comes as Beijing has signed a “historic deal” with the oil-rich Persian Gulf kingdom to export China-developed L-15 advanced trainer jets.

The purchase of the L-15 also comes as the UAE, which had exclusively relied on the US and Western Europe to purchase huge amounts of military hardware, is adopting a visible policy shift aimed at diversifying its options.

Back in June, UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the country has withdrawn from a US-led maritime coalition after an extensive evaluation of its security needs.

The so-called Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) was formed in 2019 under the leadership of the US after a series of incidents in regional waters, far away from the US territorial waters.

The group comprises 34 countries, headquartered in the US naval base in Bahrain, and claims to be active in “security, counter-terrorism and counter-piracy” in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf.

The region is home to some of the most important shipping routes in the world, and since 2019, has seen oil tankers being regularly attacked or seized.

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