China's first foray into the Black Sea


Chinese sailors march pass the Russian destroyer Admiral Vinogradov berthed at the People's Liberation Army (PLA) naval base in Qingdao, northeastern China's Shandong province. China has been stretching its sea legs recently, sending vessels into the Black Sea for the first time.



There is some controversy and debate about China's first foray into the Black Sea.

On the surface, two Chinese vessels have entered the inland sea just days after the conclusion of the 2012 Sea Breeze exercises, for the first time ever, according to Radio Free Europe.

The Sea Breeze exercises included 1,500 troops from 16 countries, including the US, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Algiers, Belgium, Georgia, Israel, Canada, Moldova, Germany, Sweden, Portugal, Turkey and concluded July 21.

China's "Qingdao" destroyer, with guided missiles, and the "Yantai" patrol boat entered the sea on July 31 at the request of Ukraine.

The two ships will reportedly part ways, with the patrol boat docking at Romania and the destroyer staying at Ukraine's port of Sevastopol until Aug. 4.

The news of the destination comes after reports that the same Chinese ships passed through the Suez canal on July 27. 

The Global Times reports the Qingdao and the Yantai were in the Suez teaching sailors the process of navigating the canal under the guidance of experienced Egyptian sailors.

Al Arabiya reports the Suez crossing outraged the Syrian opposition who say Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood does not have the right to control traffic in the strategically vital Suez.

The Syrians are convinced the ships carryied arms to be used against the opposition fighting Assad's regime, but the Chinese maintain the ships are delivering commodities to the Ukraine.