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China, Russia Fighters Conduct Joint Military Exercise Over Sea Of Japan As Quad Leaders Meet

Experts see the holding of the drill, at a time when other countries are envisaging maritime freedom in this area, as a message to the US whose National Security Advisor had earlier hinted of not allowing China to be a part of Quad.

From left, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, U.S. President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend the Japan-U.S.-Australia-India Fellowship Founding Celebration event in Tokyo Tuesday, May 24, 2022. (AP/PTI)

CHINESE Defence Ministry has said that it conducted joint aerial military drills with Russian forces on Tuesday over the Sea of Japan, East China Sea, and the Western Pacific. The exercise comes in the backdrop of the Quad summit being held in Japan on Tuesday where the US president along with heads of 12 more countries including Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged to work for the maritime security of the Indo Pacific region.

The timing of the drill assumes significance given the concerns being raised about Quad being an alliance reportedly to “contain China’s influence over this maritime region”. Experts see the holding of the drill, at a time when other countries are envisaging maritime freedom in this area, as a message to the US whose National Security Advisor had earlier hinted of not allowing China to be a part of Quad.

This exercise is the first military drill held by the two countries after the brutal invasion of Ukraine by the Russian state. In the drill, as per reports, just an aerial patrol was conducted by the bomber planes of both countries along the maritime region of Japan where Joe Biden was leading a new economic front.

Such patrols by both nations were also held earlier in 2019, 2020, and 2021. While the Russian invasion of Ukraine was one of the talking points along the Quad, Beijing has had a noncondemning attitude towards Russia’s action in Ukraine. It has not called it an invasion and has abstained from allying with nations to apply sanctions on Russia and its oligarchs.

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At least two Chinese military aircraft and four Russian warplanes had reportedly made their way into the air defense identification zone towards South Korea’s east coast. However, they had not entered its airspace, South Korea confirmed.

As this all comes from the backdrop of the Quad summit, the Chinese government had indicated earlier that the holding of this summit was nothing but a “fancy provocation”.

This was hours after US President Joe Biden launched the Indo-Pacific Economic Front (IPEF), a forum seen as a deterrent to China’s rise as a major economic power in the Asia Pacific region. The Chinese Government’s mouthpiece Global Times had called the framework an “economic NATO”. The state-run media also called Biden’s jibe at China threatening a US military action in Taiwan, a “fancy provocation”.

Global Times stated that IPEF is a plan widely believed to be “aimed at isolating China”. This could become something the US itself may find hard to drive. It is still a menace that China needs to address, it said.