China and Russia stretch military muscles and force jets to be scrambled over ‘incursion’ | World | News

December 15, 2023
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Russia and China stretched their military muscles and signalled growing security cooperation as their air force deployed aeroplanes – including nuclear-capable bombers – in the Far East.

The Chinese and Russian aircraft carried out on Thursday joint exercises and long-range air patrols in the Sea of Japan and South Korea‘s air defence identification zone within international airspace, Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

Seoul’s military announced it had already protested with Beijing via direct military line over what it called an “incursion” into its air defence zone, adding it had no means to do the same with Russia, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reports.

Also speaking about the concerning military exercise, the Japanese Defence Ministry shared a map showing the flight paths through northeast Asia of the aeroplanes. Both South Korea and Japan scrambled fighter jets to follow and monitor the Russian and Chinese aircraft.

Images shared by the Joint Staff of the Japanese Defence Ministry showed what appeared to be a pair of Russian Tu-95s and a pair of Chinese H-6 nuclear-capable bombers.

They flew from the Sea of Japan into the East China Sea via the Tsushima Strait, Tokyo claimed.

Russia‘s Tu-142 and China’s Y-8 aircraft accompanied the bombers, Tokyo added. Su-35 and J-16 fighter jets are also believed to have taken part in the exercise as escorts.

This marked the seventh known patrol conducted by the Russian Air Force and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force. This year alone, Beijing and Moscow’s air forces had already been spotted carrying out a similar exercise in June.

While the exercise happened in the international airspace and didn’t breach any law, it marked a display of force aimed at the US and its allies.

Russia‘s Defence Ministry called the flight a demonstration of collective military strength, while the Chinese Foreign Ministry said it was consistent with international law and called it “routine and conventional”.

This came as Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping continue to find common ground in their stances against the West.

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Beijing didn’t condemn Moscow and drew up a peace plan clearly favouring Putin.

Moreover, Russia has opened up its defence industry exports to China, and has been able to absorb some of the damage created by Western sanctions by turning to the Beijing market, which provided an important economic lifeline that prevented Russia from plunging into international isolation.



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