Chinese and Russian nuclear bombers fly over the Sea of ​​Japan as Biden visits Tokyo
Chinese and Russian nuclear bombers fly over the Sea of ​​Japan as Biden visits Tokyo

Chinese and Russian nuclear bombers fly over the Sea of ​​Japan as Biden visits Tokyo

Chinese and Russian strategic bombers flew over the Sea of ​​Japan as Joe Biden attended a Quad summit in Tokyo, in a joint exercise that the Japanese government condemned as “unacceptable.”

The nuclear bombers on Tuesday conducted a joint flight that began over the Sea of ​​Japan when the U.S. president met with his colleagues from Japan, Australia and India, Japanese and U.S. officials said.

Moscow said the 13-hour flight was conducted “strictly in accordance with the provisions of international law” and was not aimed at third countries. But Nobuo Kishi, Japan’s defense minister, condemned the exercise as “provocative” and “unacceptable”.

A US official said the exercise showed that China is continuing military cooperation with Russia in the Indo-Pacific, “even though Russia is brutalizing Ukraine”.

“It also shows that Russia will stand with China in the eastern and southern China seas, not with other Indo-Pacific states,” the official said.

Russia and China conducted joint nuclear bombing operations over the Sea of ​​Japan in 2019, 2020 and 2021, but Tuesday’s flight was the first time such a maneuver took place with a US president in the region.

The exercises were held on the last day of Biden’s journey to Asia when he attended a Quad Summit The security group in the United States, Japan, Australia and India, which China has criticized as an Asian “NATO”.

From left: Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Tokyo on Tuesday © Yuichi Yamazaki / Getty Images

It has Chinese analysts in the past quoted one purpose of the joint bomb patrols with Russia was to warn the United States against “creating trouble” with initiatives such as the Quad.

Russia’s defense minister said Russian Tu-95MS strategic missile vessels and Chinese H-6 bombers had conducted air patrols over the Japanese and East China Seas.

“The planes from both countries acted strictly in accordance with the provisions of international law,” the Russian ministry said. “There were no violations of foreign state airspace.”

The exercises were carried out while tensions were rising over Taiwan, a democratic country over which China claims sovereignty. Over the past year, China has flown more and more fighters and bombers close to Taiwan, in what U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has described as exercises for military action against the island.

Bitten on Monday promised to use military force to intervene if China attacked Taiwan. His comment seemed to overthrow US policy with “strategic ambiguity”, with Washington not specifying whether it would come to Taiwan’s defense.

Asked on Tuesday whether his comments meant “strategic ambiguity” had been dropped, Biden said “the policy has not changed at all”.

In another illustration of the growing concern for Taiwan, especially in the wake of war in UkraineAdmiral Michael Studeman, the top intelligence officer at the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, is visiting Taipei, where he met with senior security officials, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Admiral John Aquilino, Head of the US Indo-Pacific Command, recently told FT that the invasion of Ukraine should be a reminder not to be complacent with Taiwan.

The joint Russian-Chinese bomber is part of the military cooperation that analysts said approached the level between allies, although both countries insist their relationship is not an alliance.

The United States has become more aware of the relationship between China and Russia since Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin described their friendship as “no borders” in February.

The US official said the recent exercises emphasized the link between European and Indo-Pacific security and reinforced the need to strengthen alliances and promote a vision of freedom shared by like-minded nations.

“The joint statement issued by Putin and Xi… Spoke for a world where China and Russia, whether in Eastern Europe or the Western Pacific, would have their own spheres of influence, where it would be natural and acceptable to exercise their power against their neighbors, “the official added.” They work together to advance that vision. “

Additional reporting by Nastassia Astrasheuskaya

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