Russia and China have conducted joint air patrols in the Asia-Pacific region amid conflict in Ukraine and rivalry between Beijing and Washington, the Russian military announced on Wednesday.
For its part, the South Korean military announced that it had grounded the fighters after six Russian and two Chinese warplanes entered its air defense zone without warning. He said the aircraft eventually left the area and did not violate South Korean airspace.
eight hour patrol
According to a statement by the Russian Defense Ministry, a squadron of Russian and Chinese strategic bombers “conducted air patrols over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea”.
The Russian ministry explained that the joint flight lasted about eight hours and that at some stages of their route, the Russian and Chinese bombers were “escorted by fighters from foreign states”.
“There has been no violation of foreign airspace”, the Russian ministry underlined, assuring that these patrols were carried out within the framework of a Russian-Chinese military cooperation plan for 2022 and “are not directed against third countries”. .
The announcement comes against the backdrop of Moscow’s growing isolation on the international scene and a rapid shift from Russia to Asia in the context of unprecedented Western sanctions targeting it because of the conflict in Ukraine.
The patrol also comes as rivalry between China and the United States escalates, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region where Washington and Beijing are in growing competition. Everyone wants to assert their influence especially on the question of North Korea, of which China is the main ally while Washington is the main ally of South Korea.
Korean and Japanese reactions
According to the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), Chinese H-6 bombers repeatedly entered and exited the Korea Air Defense Identification Zone (KADIZ) near the southern and northern coasts of eastern South Korea early Wednesday.
Hours later, they returned to the area from the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan, accompanied by Russian military aircraft, including two Su-35 fighters and four Tu-95 bombers, the state added. South Korean leader.
In a statement, the JCS said, “Our military deployed air force fighter jets even before the Chinese and Russian jets entered Cádiz to take tactical measures in the event of an unforeseen situation.”
In Japan, the General Staff confirmed that two Chinese H-6 bombers “entered the Sea of Japan and then flew north” on Wednesday morning. “At about the same time, it appears that two Russian planes flew south over the Sea of Japan and then turned back,” he said, adding that he had fighter jets in response.
The incident comes as Washington is pushing China to use its influence to rein in North Korea, which has fired a record number of missiles this year.
Chinese President Xi Jinping recently offered cooperation to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to “accelerate peace” in the world.
Washington has accused China and Russia of shielding Pyongyang from further sanctions.
In May, both countries vetoed a US move to tighten sanctions on North Korea in response to its previous missile attacks.
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