MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian and Chinese long-range strategic bombers carried out joint patrols over the Sea of Japan, the East China Sea and the western Pacific Ocean but were at times accompanied by jet fighters from unidentified states, Russia said on Wednesday.
Russia’s defence ministry said an air group of Tupolev Tu-95 and Chinese Xian H-6K strategic bombers carried out an 8-hour patrol, accompanied by a group of Sukhoi Su-30M, Su-35S and Shenyang J-11 fighters.
“At certain stages of the route, the strategic missile carriers were accompanied by fighters of foreign states,” the defence ministry said, adding that the airspace of other nations was not violated.
The ministry did not identify the “foreign states”.
“During the joint air patrol, Russian aircraft landed and took off from an airfield in the People’s Republic of China,” it said.
The White House said on Monday recent dangerous encounters between U.S. and Chinese forces in the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea reflect a growing aggressiveness by Beijing’s military that raises the risk of an error in which “somebody gets hurt.”
China said that “the measures taken by the Chinese military are completely reasonable, legitimate, and professional and safe.”
The deepening “no limits” partnership between the rising superpower of China and the natural resources titan of Russia is being watched by the West with some anxiety, though it is unclear just how deep the partnership is.
After the West imposed the most severe sanctions in modern history on Moscow due to the war in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin said Russia is turning towards Asia – and China in particular – after centuries of looking to the West as the crucible of economic growth, technology and war.
(Reporting by Reuters; editing by Guy Faulconbridge, William Maclean)
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