On Tuesday, when Tokyo was hosting the leaders of the Quad grouping of countries, including the United States, Japan scrambled fighters when Russian and Chinese warplanes approached its airspace, Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said.
Kishi said at an online news conference that Tokyo has expressed severe concerns to both Russia and China through diplomatic channels.
On a day when President Joe Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Australia’s freshly elected leader, Anthony Albanese, were meeting in Tokyo, he described the event as a likely provocation by both Beijing and Moscow.
“We believe the fact that this action was taken during the Quad summit makes it more provocative than in the past,” he added, adding that it was the fourth such occurrence since November.
According to Kishi, two Chinese aircraft flew across the Sea of Japan from the East China Sea, where they were joined by two Russian jets for a fly back to the East China Sea.
Later, he added, the two Chinese airplanes were replaced by another pair, which flew alongside the Russians on a long journey into the Pacific Ocean.
According to him, a Russian surveillance jet flew over the open sea from Hokkaido’s northern island to Japan’s main island’s Noto peninsula.
According to him, none of the planes entered Japanese airspace.
Both Russia and China acknowledged that a joint patrol was performed. The patrol over the Japanese and East China seas lasted 13 hours, according to Russia’s military ministry.
According to China’s defense ministry, the drill was part of an annual military cooperation plan.
Separately, when at least four Chinese and four Russian airplanes entered South Korea’s air defense zone on Tuesday, the military said it scrambled fighters.
It was unclear whether the two incidents were connected or whether the same airplanes were involved.
In the face of an increasingly aggressive China, the four leaders of the Quad – an informal organization led by Washington – reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific area on Tuesday.