The Russian military said that a pair of its Tu-95 strategic bombers and four Chinese H-6K bombers flew over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea on Tuesday.
The Russian Defence Ministry said in a statement that the joint mission was intended to “develop and deepen the comprehensive Russia-China partnership, further increase the level of cooperation between the two militaries, expand their ability for joint action and strengthen strategic stability”.
The ministry added that what is described as a patrol flight “was not directed against any third countries”.
Tuesday’s mission was the second such flight since a July 2019 patrol over the same area.
It follows Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statement in October that the idea of a future Russia-China military alliance should not be ruled out – a signal of deepening military cooperation between Moscow and Beijing amid growing tension in their relations with the United States.
Until that moment, Russia and China had hailed their “strategic partnership” but rejected any talk about the possibility of their forming a military alliance.
Putin also noted in October that Russia has been sharing highly sensitive military technologies with China that helped significantly bolster its defence capability.
Russia has sought to develop stronger ties with China as its relations with the West sank to post-Cold War lows over Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region, accusations of Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election and other issues.
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