Russia, China Strengthen Military Alliance with First ‘Provocative’ Air Patrol – Sending Bold Message to Donald Trump – The Sun
RUSSIA and China have stepped up their alliance with a first “provocative” joint air patrol mission that unleashed fire from South Korea.
This bold move sent shockwaves around the world and marked the strengthening of military ties between Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping.
Experts say the growing alliance will worry politicians from Washington to Tokyo – and send a strong message to Donald Trump.
It could also complicate relations and increase tensions in a region that has for years been overshadowed by hostility between the United States and North Korea.
On Tuesday, fighter jets from four countries clashed in an unprecedented showdown over a disputed small island off the coasts of South Korea and Japan.
South Korean jets fired warning shots after saying three Russian jets and two Chinese H-6 bombers had violated their airspace.
Japan backed the claims – claiming that a Russian A-50 plane had flown over the islands and that Tokyo had also scrambled fighters to intercept them.
While troops and warships from Russia and China have previously participated in joint war games, they only conducted such air patrols in the Asia-Pacific region together on Tuesday.
The mission sparked hundreds of warning shots from the South Korean Air Force and a strong protest from Japan.
THE GROWING ALLIANCE OF RUSSIA AND CHINA
The Russian Defense Ministry said the patrol was carried out to “perfect” joint military actions.
“The joint patrol was conducted with the aim of deepening Russian-Chinese relations within the framework of our comprehensive partnership, further increasing cooperation between our armed forces and improving their capabilities to carry out joint actions, and strengthening global strategic security, “the ministry said in a statement.
Experts believe Russia and China want to send a message to the United States and its allies in the Asia-Pacific region.
Hong Hyun-ik, a researcher at the Sejong Institute, a think tank in Seoul, said: but also to react militarily.
“BOLD AND PROVOCATIVE”
Artyom Lukin, an international relations specialist at the Federal University of the Far East in Vladivostok, told CNN the two countries wanted to show their common power.
Despite their growing alliance, he revealed he was surprised by the joint mission.
“I didn’t expect this action to be so bold and provocative,” he said.
Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center and a former colonel in the Russian military, predicted that joint Russian-Chinese air patrols would soon be common in the region.
“Such patrols will become a regular feature under a new agreement soon to be signed between Moscow and Beijing,” Trenin said on Twitter.
“The Russo-Chinese understanding is deepening.
Moscow has also slowly stepped up military coordination with Beijing and invited the Chinese military to participate in Russia’s annual strategic military exercises last year.
The military agreement between Moscow and Beijing has not yet been fully clarified.
But officials said it could involve the two countries sharing radar data from air defense and missile systems.
Chinese President Xi affectionately described Putin as his “close friend” during a three-day trip to Moscow in June.
Putin also thanked Xi for helping their countries achieve trade revenues of more than $ 100 billion a year and said that Russia-China relations have reached an “unprecedented level.”
Seoul and Tokyo, which both jammed planes to intercept the Russian-Chinese mission on Tuesday, accused Russia and China of violating their airspace, an allegation denied by Moscow and Beijing.
South Korea’s Defense Ministry said the Russian and Chinese bombers entered the Korea Air Defense Identification Zone (KADIZ) together early Tuesday.
South Korean warplanes fired hundreds of warning shots at the Russian military aircraft A-50.
In Washington, the Pentagon has said it supports the responses from South Korea and Japan.
“The United States strongly supports our allies in the Republic of Korea and Japan and their responses to airspace incursions by Chinese and Russian planes,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Dave Eastburn said .
“The (Department of Defense) is in close coordination with our allies in the Republic of Korea and Japan regarding these events and will continue to monitor activities while monitoring their Russian and Chinese counterparts through diplomatic channels.” , said Eastburn.
RUSSIA denies violating airspace
Russia said it does not recognize South Korea’s KADIZ, while China’s Foreign Ministry said the area is not territorial airspace and all countries have freedom of movement within it. .
Russia has also accused two South Korean F-16 fighter jets of performing “unprofessional maneuvers” and not communicating with them.
If the Russian pilots had sensed a threat to their safety, their response would have been swift, he added.
A spokesperson for the South Korean Defense Ministry did not directly respond to the Russian accusation of reckless behavior.
The airspace in question lay above a group of South Korean-held islets roughly halfway between South Korea and Japan which has been a source of territorial disputes between them.
Russia is not a party to these disputes.
South Korea’s senior security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, lodged a strong objection with Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Security Council, over the joint mission.
He asked the council to assess the incident and take appropriate action, the South Korean presidential office said.
Separately, Japan, which said it also sent fighter jets to intercept Russian and Chinese planes, has filed a complaint with South Korea and Russia over the incident.
Tokyo has slammed South Korea for taking action against a Russian plane over what Japan says is its airspace.
“In light of Japan’s position regarding sovereignty over Takeshima, the fact that the South Korean military plane fired warning shots is totally unacceptable and extremely regrettable,” Suga told reporters.
South Korean jets lost around 360 rounds in the incident, an official with South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.
“The South Korean military has taken tactical measures, including dropping flares and firing warning shots,” the South Korean defense ministry said.
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