Russia and China conducted a joint military operation involving nuclear-capable bombers while President Joe Biden was in Japan.
The drills took place on Tuesday when Biden was in Tokyo for the Quad summit that includes leaders from the United States, Japan, India, and Australia. He had been on a trip to multiple Asian countries.
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In a Telegram post, Russia's Ministry of Defense said, "A group of Tu-95ms Strategic Missile Carriers of the Russian Aerospace Forces and Xian H-6 Strategic Bombers of the [Chinese] Air Force conducted air patrol over the waters of the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea."
"The exercise shows that China is continuing its military cooperation with Russia in the Indo-Pacific, even as Russia brutalizes Ukraine," a senior administration official told Fox News. "It also shows that Russia will stand with China in the East and South China Seas, not with other Indo-Pacific states."
"Joint strategic bomber exercises such as this one cannot be planned quickly and was likely planned well in advance by both countries," the official added. "To further demonstrate just how seriously China considers its military partnership with Russia, Chinese naval vessels likely participated in this joint exercise."
Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi told the Wall Street Journal, "We have conveyed to both China and Russia our grave concerns," and he explained that this was the fourth such drill they've conducted but the first since last November. "I consider that the fact such action was taken during the Quad summit indicates the degree of provocation was raised compared with the previous cases."
South Korea's military said it scrambled jets in response to the incursion in the country's self-identification zone.
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The test demonstrates the partnership between China and Russia, while the former has been put in a difficult position with the latter's invasion of Ukraine.
The Chinese and Russian leaders released a communique that outlined a wide range of plans for economic and diplomatic cooperation back in February, weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine. While China claims to promote "peace" between Russia and Ukraine, the country has simultaneously been amplifying Russian disinformation claims of justification.