Chinese and Russian bombers conducted joint military operations along Japan’s coast as President Joe Biden visited Tokyo on Tuesday, according to multiple reports.
Two Chinese planes and four Russian craft flew over the Sea of Japan and south into the East China Sea before heading for the Philippine Sea, The New York Times reported. Japan and South Korea reportedly scrambled fighter jets in response to the military maneuver.
The Chinese and Russian warplanes did not enter into Japanese or South Korean airspace, according to the NYT report. Joint operations of strategic bombers reportedly require significant planning due to their inherent complexity.
The Sino-Russian military operation came as Biden and his counterparts in the Quad coalition — Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi — met in Tokyo to launch the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), according to a White House press release. The aerial maneuvers also marked the first joint military operation between China and Russia since the invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, according to The New York Times.
“The military drill is carried out in accordance with the China-Russia annual military cooperation plan. It is for peaceful purposes and not targeted at any third party,” Liu Pengyu, spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier strike group is also reportedly in operation in the East China Sea, according to the United States Naval Institute. At the same time, the USS Abraham Lincoln and USS Ronald Reagan carrier strike groups, the USS America expeditionary strike group, as well as the USS Tripoli were reportedly in and around Japan as of May 23, according to the U.S. Naval Institute fleet tracker.
The Sino-Russian military exercise follows just days after a pair of China’s H-6J bombers flew near U.S. military bases on Okinawa, Japan, on May 18, and only weeks after China conducted a live-fire “rehearsal” for a “reunification-by-force” operation of Taiwan between May 6 and 8.
The Japanese Embassy, Department of Defense and Navy did not respond immediately to TheDCNF’s request for comment.
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