Beijing, 6 June, 2023 (GNP): China and Russia recently launched their sixth joint air patrol over the East China Sea and the Sea of Japan on Tuesday. The incident has further intensified regional tensions rattling South Korea to scramble jet fighters in response.
China-Russia patrol has turned out to be alarming among the neighboring countries pushing them to reanalyze their security measures.
The Chinese Defense Ministry confirmed the joint patrol, accentuating its routine nature within the framework of bilateral military cooperation.
However, South Korea’s military has responded with fighter jets following China-Russia four-four military aircraft entering the defense zone of the southern and eastern Korean peninsula.
This incident echoes a similar episode in November when South Korea dispatched fighter jets after Chinese and Russian aircraft entered its Air Defense Identification Zone (KADIZ) during a joint aerial patrol.
Notably, Japan also scrambled its jet fighters when Chinese and Russian drones flew into the Sea of Japan.
Air defense zones are areas where countries expect foreign aircraft to follow specific air identification protocols. Although there are no set patterns or protocols governing such zones yet, tensions arise when foreign aircraft approach or try to breach the stated boundaries.
Moreover, the joint air patrols between Russia and China began before the Russian military involvement in Ukraine. Also, these mutual defensive measures manifest both nations’ desire for expanding bilateral ties.
These ties tend to mutually counter the threats from the United States and other military alliances. Joint patrols aimed to project a unified front and symbolize the deepening partnership between Beijing and Moscow.
“China and Russia will regularly organize joint maritime and air patrols, exercises and training, strengthen exchanges and cooperation between the two militaries, including those under existing bilateral mechanisms, and further deepen military mutual trust,” Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping in a joint statement while meeting in Moscow.
Previously, the joint patrols launched in May 2022, Chinese and Russian warplanes approached Japanese airspace during the quad summit. Following Japan’s concerns, China asserted that the air flights were not directed at any third party, yet the incident highlights the ramifications of military exercises on regional stability.