China reminds the US it is a friend of Iran
Iranian and Chinese navies are conducting their second ever joint military drills off the coast of Iran. As in 2014 a small Chinese flotilla has made a port call in Iran's Bandar Abass Thursday where it was received warmly by the Iranians. Now it is exercising in scheduled joint maneuvers with Iranian vessels.
The Chinese commander took the opportunity to speak of admiration for Iran's civilization and China's friendship with the country:
Rear Admiral Shen Hao, Commander of China Navy Task Force Group 150 said holding the maneuver had already been planned and the successful execution of the program will help develop more friendship, promote interaction and strengthen confidence between the two navies of Iran and China.
He called Iran and China two ancient and civilized countries of Asia with a long history of friendship, adding that by exchanging high ranking delegations in recent years, cooperation between the two navies have entered into a new phase.
For the record, the exercise took place to the east of the strategic choke point that is the Strait of Hormuz, in waters which are heavily militarized by the US 5th Fleet.
With the US Navy aggressively patrolling the South China Sea, the Chinese seem grateful for an opportunity to be able to "return the favor". Though of course the situations, are not truly analogous. The Persian Gulf is still on the other side of the world from the US, and the oil from the area actually mostly goes to China rather than the US.