The Chinese military has sent two naval ships to participate in joint exercises with the Singaporean navy and a regional maritime security display.
The exercises in the city-state of Southeast Asia, which begin on Friday, coinciding with China’s expanding presence in the South China Sea, which it asserts sovereignty over essentially its whole.
Concerns are particularly acute in the United States, where on Wednesday, American soldiers participated in significant maneuvers in Philippine waters bordering the South China Sea that are expected to enrage China.
Beijing is taking a more forceful approach now that tensions with the United States and its allies are at an all-time low.
According to the military station on state television, the guided-missile frigate Yulin and the minesweeper hunter Chibi were the ships being sent.
They will also be present for the IMDEX Asia National Defense and Maritime Security Show, which will take place from May 3–5 and include participants from 62 nations and 25 warships.
Singapore has endeavored to strike a balance between adversaries Washington and Beijing, but it nevertheless maintains its official non-allegiance in the face of China’s efforts to gain influence in nations that have historically favored the United States.
China, which also officially opposes military alliances, has been conducting more exercises with Russia, its main ally in fighting Western domination of world affairs.
In February, the fleets of China, Russia, and South Africa gathered for exercises on the southern tip of Africa.
While those drills were going on, Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted China’s top diplomat at the Kremlin, highlighting their growing relationship and igniting fears in the West that Beijing might be prepared to provide Moscow with more support for its conflict in Ukraine.
Although the Chinese Foreign Minister declared this month that China would not sell weapons to either side in the Ukraine war, Chinese President Xi Jinping also visited Putin in Moscow last month.