BEIJING, April 29 (CGTN) -- A joint military exercise with the Chinese and Russian navies has begun in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, marking the second time that both navies have met at the port of Qingdao since the launch of the annual drill mechanism in 2012.

The Chinese PLA Navy sent a warm welcome to the Russian fleet.

Qiu Yanpeng, deputy commander of the PLA Navy, said that through the exercise, both sides will have closer collaboration and greater proficiency in addressing all kinds of security threats.

The subject of this year's exercise is "joint maritime defensive operations." Both navies have dispatched two submarines, 13 surface vessels, multiple aircraft and some 80 marines.

Reportedly, the "Joint Sea 2019" exercise will be conducted in three phases, namely preparation, execution and summary. At least ten drills will be held by May 4.

According to a senior military official, the exercise will focus on joint submarine rescue, air defense, and anti-submarine operations.

On Monday afternoon, the navies of both sides visited each other's vessels in order to deepen mutual understanding.

"This is the second time I have come to Qingdao, and I am so happy to be back," said Alexander Averianov, a chief warrant officer from Russian cruiser Varyag.

They will soon set out to hold exercises in the sea and airspace near Qingdao.

Both navies stressed that the exercise does not target any third party. It only aims to enhance their capability to commonly address maritime security threats.