In spring 2015, we may witness a naval exercise of Russia and China in the Mediterranean. It is yet a statement. However, if the exercise takes place, it will send relevant messages to Europe and the US. The global naval balance of power is shifting to China's and Russia's advance. Time for Europe to do something.
Do not expect a large exercise
“We plan to conduct a regular joint naval exercise in the Mediterranean next spring,” said Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, according to the Russian TASS news agency. (...) Shoigu did not specify the nature of the exercises but Russia and China completed a bilateral exercise in May. (Source: USNI)"
Russian announcements have already to be taken with care, even though it came not out of nothing, but rather after meeting in Beijing. However, there have been plenty statements from Moscow, e.g. about naval presences in the South China Sea and the Caribbean or the construction of indigenous aircraft carriers, that never turned into reality. Moreover, there has not yet been an accompanying statement from Beijing.
|Chinese LHD in the Gulf of Aden in October 2014 (Link)|
It may be just a Russian hoax, nevertheless there is a realistic prospect in it. In spring 2015, China could do what has done with all its counter-piracy task forces. Once the mission in the Gulf of Aden is done and the new task force has arrived, the relieved task force will go for another duty before returning home. Hence, what we may see, is that 2-3 Chinese warships, one supply vessel and probably one submarine will transit Suez to meet with a Russian task force in Mediterranean (Med').