China's joint naval drills with Russia and India that will begin in the Gulf of Oman this week are not a response to tensions in the region, a Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said Thursday at a press briefing.
China plans to send the Xining guided-missile destroyer to the drills. Russia has had a naval force deployed to the Indian Ocean for joint drills with India since mid-December.
The Iranian ambassador to Russia, Kazem Jalali, said that the trilateral war games aimed to beef up security cooperation and train fighting against terrorists and pirates.
Iran and the United States were on a brink of a military clash over the crucial trade waterway in June after Washington accused Tehran of staging a string of attacks on oil tankers, which it denied. The US has been building a military coalition to patrol the gulf and the Hormuz Strait.