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Saudi Arabia and China to hold joint naval training as ties deepen

With energy and business ties rapidly improving between Saudi Arabia and China, the two countries have agreed to a second joint naval exercise.
China's sole aircraft carrier, the Liaoning (R), arrives in Hong Kong waters on July 7, 2017.

Saudi Arabia and China will hold a joint naval drill next month, China announced on Thursday, the latest sign of the strengthening ties between the kingdom and the People’s Republic.

The two countries will hold the special operations training exercise in the southern Chinese city of Zhanjiang at an unspecified date in October. The exercise will focus on “overseas maritime counter-terrorism operations,” including sniping, boat driving, helicopter landing and joint rescues, China’s Ministry of National Defense said in a statement.

The purpose of the training is to “deepen the pragmatic and friendly cooperation between the two militaries and improve the troops' real-combat training level,” said Chinese defense ministry spokesperson Col. Wu Qian.

It will be the second time that China and Saudi Arabia have held joint naval drills. In 2019, their two navies held a drill at the King Faisal Naval Base, in Jeddah.

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