China, Russia, Iran hold joint naval drills in Gulf of Oman

BEIJING (AP) — China’s Defense Ministry says Chinese, Iranian and Russian naval forces are staging joint drills in the Gulf of Oman near the mouth of the strategic Persian Gulf this week. The ministry’s announcement Tuesday says other countries are also involved in the “Security Bond-2023” exercises but gave no details. Iran, Pakistan, Oman and the United Arab Emirates have coastline along the gulf. The exercises scheduled for Wednesday through Sunday come amid heightened tensions between the U.S., China and Russia. China has dispatched the guided missile destroyer Nanning to take part in the drills mainly involving search and rescue at sea and other non-combat missions. China maintains its only foreign military base in the Horn of Africa country of Djibouti across from the Gulf of Oman.