(DailyVantage.com) – Tensions between the United States and China have undoubtedly been growing. Russia’s relationship with the US is teetering a fine line, too, since the country invaded Ukraine nearly a year ago. Therefore, the idea of the two nations teaming up to carry out military exercises is causing considerable concern. Yet, that’s exactly what they’re doing, and South Africa is facilitating it all.
On January 19, the South African National Defence Force tweeted the three nations would carry out joint military exercises. The three countries plan to implement “Operation Mosi” from February 17 through 27 in the Richards Bay and Durban areas of the Kwa-Zulu Natal province. The Defence Force credits the joint task force as a “means to strengthen the already flourishing relations” between the three.
The SA National Defence Force || Media Statement || Thursday, 19 January 2023 || SA to host the People’s Liberation Army Navy from China and Russian Federal Navy during the Multilateral Maritime Exercises over period 17 to 27 February 2023.#SANDF#DCCMediaLiaison#SANavy pic.twitter.com/QiDU2rBalF
— SA National Defence Force (@SANDF_ZA) January 19, 2023
This training exercise isn’t the first time the three will carry out trilateral operations. It occurred in 2019, a year after Cyril Ramaphosa became South Africa’s president. While the US once enjoyed a robust relationship with South Africa, it has since deteriorated, and Operation Mosi is likely to add to existing tensions.
Further adding to the friction, Ramaphosa’s administration has actively helped Russia. First, the nation refused to denounce Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and second, South Africa has refused to enforce economic sanctions on prominent members of President Vladimir Putin’s regime.
The US immediately denounced the upcoming military exercises upon hearing about them. According to The New York Times, a spokesperson for the US Embassy in Pretoria, David Feldmann, said it “note[s] with concern” that the exercises are taking place but encourages the country to “cooperate militarily” with the countries that instead “share [its] mutual commitment to human rights and the rule of law.”
Despite its “relations” with the two countries, South Africa maintains it is not taking sides in the war, remaining diplomatically neutral. The rhetoric directly contradicts the vast majority of South Africa’s citizens, who believe their nation should condemn Russia for the invasion of Ukraine.
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