Russia, China Joint Air Force Drills ‘Seriously Concerns’ Japan; Tokyo Calls It An Act Of Intimidation

Japan has expressed serious concerns to Russia and China over the joint military drills near Japanese borders, Kyodo reported.

According to the Japanese Ministry of Defense, six bombers of the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Chinese Air Force carried out joint passages from the Sea of Japan towards the Pacific Ocean, as well as towards the East China Sea.

Earlier,  Russian strategic bombers Tu-95MS and China’s H-6K conducted joint air patrols in the Asia-Pacific region, the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed.

The drill carried out by the two countries’ bombers near our nation during the meeting of the leaders of Japan, the United States, Australia and India, was intended to be an act of demonstration” against Japan, Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi told reporters.

H-6J Strategic Bombers
File Image: H-6J Strategic Bomber

“On May 24, 2022, the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Air Force of the People’s Liberation Army of China conducted joint air patrols in the Asia-Pacific region. An air group consisting of Tu-95ms strategic missile carriers of the Russian Aerospace Forces and Hong-6k strategic bombers of the PLA Air Force carried out air patrols over the waters of the Sea of Japan and East China Sea,” the ministry said.

It specified that the duration of the flight of Russian strategic missile carriers had been about 13 hours. Fighter escort for a group of bombers was provided by Su-30cm aircraft of the Aerospace Forces.

“At some stages of the route, the strategic missile carriers were escorted F-2 aircraft of the South Korean Air Force, F-15 of the Japanese Air Force,” the defense ministry added.

In the course of performing tasks, the aircraft of both countries acted strictly in accordance with the provisions of international law, it said. The event was held as part of the implementation of the provisions of the military cooperation plan for 2022 and is not directed against third countries, the Russian Defense Ministry noted.

A Russian Tu-95MS strategic bomber (Wikimedia Commons)

Earlier on May 18th,  Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi held talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, during which the parties reiterated the importance of developing bilateral cooperation and exchanged views on their concerns about regional security.

According to the Japanese Foreign Ministry, Hayashi and Wang spoke for 70 minutes via video conference.

“At the outset, Minister Hayashi stated that the two sides must strive to realize their important shared vision for a constructive and stable relationship… Hayashi also expressed serious concern over the situations in the East China Sea, including the situation surrounding the Senkaku Islands, as well as the South China Sea, Hong Kong, and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and stated the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” the ministry said in a statement.

The statement noted that both Japanese and Chinese foreign ministers confirmed their commitment to promoting dialogue and economic cooperation in various spheres, as well as “pushing forward the people-to-people and economic exchanges between the two countries through efforts of both sides.”

The foreign ministers also discussed Russia’s military operation in Ukraine. While Hayashi refrained from openly criticizing Moscow, he called on China to “play a responsible role to maintain international peace and security.”

In turn, Wang raised China’s concerns over rising convergence of Japan and the United States over Quad leaders’ summit and US President Joe Biden’s visit to Tokyo.

“Foreign Minister Wang Yi made clear the position on the negative moves by Japan and the United States against China… Japan will soon host the QUAD summit among the United States, Japan, India and Australia. What makes people pay attention to and be vigilant is that even before the U.S. leader embarks on his trip, the viewpoint that Japan and the United States join hands to confront China was already rampant, creating a foul atmosphere,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said following the talks.

The Chinese side stressed that Tokyo and Beijing are bound by a treaty of peace and friendship, urging Japan to be cautious about disturbing regional peace and stability and to “act prudently” while pursuing its cooperation with the United States.