Russian and Chinese bombers fly near Japan on the sidelines of the “Quartet” summit

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Japan issued a formal protest on Tuesday, May 24, after Chinese and Russian bombers flew together near its territory, while a meeting of the “quartet” was held on the same day in Tokyo, which unofficially included the United States, Japan, Australia and India.

The Japanese Defense Minister took the floor on Tuesday to express ” serious concerns From the Japanese archipelago. ” Two Chinese bombers joined two Russian bombers in the Sea of ​​Japan and made a group trip to the East China Sea ‘,” Nobuo Kishi stated with the press.

And then four planes in total,” It operated a group voyage from the East China Sea to the Pacific Ocean He added, explaining that Russian intelligence and reconnaissance aircraft had flown, moreover, and still until Tuesday, from the northern island of Hokkaido to the Noto peninsula.

Mr. Keshi concluded his remarks by describing these works as ” instigators “.” We have expressed, through diplomatic channels, our grave concerns from the point of view of our country and regional security. ‘, captivated the Japanese defense minister.

As the international community responds to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the fact that China has taken such an action jointly with Russia… is troubling. Not to be underestimated Nobu Kishi confirms, according to what was reported by the French news agency (AFP).

Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi, left, during a meeting with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon on Wednesday, May 4. AFP – Manuel Palcy Cineta

Tu-95 and Xian H-6

Beijing confirmed: that these flights, the Chinese Ministry of Defense indicates in a press release, are within the framework of ” Annual Military Cooperation Plan ” couple. “ Routine joint strategic air patrol “,” In the airspace over the Sea of ​​Japan, the East China Sea and the western Pacific regions Writes People’s Republic of China.

Moscow also confirmed in a press release. These are the Russian Tu-95 and Chinese Xian H-6 strategic bombers, which took part in the flights, lasting 13 hours, over the seas of China and Japan, according to the explanations provided by the Russian Defense Ministry.

besides The war in UkraineIn addition to Joe Biden’s last words Around Taiwan, these coordinated flights between the Russians and the Chinese come as Tokyo hosts a top “quad”an informal alliance of American, Australian, Indian, and Japanese leaders (see box).

The Xian H-6, a licensed copy of the Soviet Tupolev Tu-162 bomber, was built for the Chinese Air Force.  The first Tu-16 was delivered to China in 1958.
The Xian H-6, a licensed copy of the Soviet Tupolev Tu-162 bomber, was built for the Chinese Air Force. The first Tu-16 was delivered to China in 1958. © Wikimedia Commons / Lee Bang

“Change the status quo”

Chinese and Russian aircraft did not enter Japanese airspace. But this is the fourth time such group flights have taken place near the archipelago since last November, according to Japan’s Defense Ministry. Tokyo regularly launches combat aircraft in the region.

This was the case again this time: Minister Nobuo Kishi explained that Japan had sent fighter jets to counter Russian and Chinese aircraft as they approached Japanese airspace. South Korea also flew planes to escort these competitors.

Still in a press release, the leaders of the informal meeting of the Quartet alliance in Tokyo after these operations by the Russian and Chinese air forces responded, warning against any attempt, they say, ” To change the status quo by force Without expressly citing the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China.

‘status quo’ somehow containment “, even today, from the Chinese projection on the high seas and in the depths, for reasons of nuclear deterrence in particular. A US official reported, via Reuters news agency, that this Sino-Russian operation demonstrates the full extent of the current military cooperation between the two countries.

This apparent rapprochement between Russia and China raises questions, explains Marianne-Peron-Douise, an expert researcher on Asia at the Institute for Strategic Research at the Military School (draw).

It is Russia that is seeking support from China. However, there is a convergence of opportunities between these two “chaotic actors” who actually find an interest in supporting each other, since their strategic interest is to balance initiatives effectively with the economic, strategic, and diplomatic influence of the United States. So this convergence is understandable. The Chinese Navy and the Russian Navy have already conducted exercises together, which already raised concerns, as we wondered how far they could go. But what you should also see is that the Biden administration is becoming more and more, I would say, dynamic, taking more and more initiatives and maneuvering in terms of security in the Indo-Pacific…

Marianne Peron-Duas, expert researcher on Asia at the Institute for Strategic Research at the Military School (ESM)

exercises in the mediterranean

According to a US official, this is the first joint Sino-Russian exercise since the start of the war in Ukraine on February 24. Thus, Beijing proves its support for Moscow, while the US President announced that Washington would be ready to use force in the event of a Chinese attack on the island of Taiwan.

It should be noted that NATO is leading a real show of force in the Eastern Mediterranean, May 17-31, “Neptune Shield 2022”. On Monday, the fighter jets trained around the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. TrumanNorth Benghazi, Libya (see tweet above).

Igor Goklin, with agencies

The Quartet does not want to openly challenge China

The Quartet opposes any change in the status quo by force. In his latest statement, however, he avoided condemning China and Russia. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida only noted that ” The Russian invasion of Ukraine violated the basic principles of the international order “.

Why this caution of the four leaders towards Russia? Because India refuses to condemn the invasion of Ukraine or reduce its trade with Russia. However, the United States, Japan and Australia use the Quartet to lure India, This is due to the lack of bias.

Nor do the four countries want to be seen as openly challenging China. In their statement, the Taiwan archipelago is not mentioned. US President Joe Biden asserted on Tuesday that ” mystery strategy “America, vis-à-vis Taipei, remains unchanged. On Monday, he said Washington would defend the independent island in the event of a Chinese invasion.

Bilaterally, the Quartet member states condemn the Russian atrocities in Ukraine, or the militarization of certain regions of the Pacific by China. Within the Quartet, they highlighted its key founding principles: the preservation of the Indo-Pacific region; Develop “soft power” measures to mark their differences with Chinese and Russian authoritarian regimes.

This is how the Quartet will invest $50 billion over five years in more secure IT infrastructure projects, and in combating climate change to forge links with countries in the Pacific, such as Solomon Islands, which concluded a security agreement with Beijing.

The quartet will set up a marine monitoring system to track Chinese activities in the area, such as illegal fishing. Thus, the Quartet strengthens its informal alliance in Tokyo, even if the latter does not form an anti-China bloc.

Correspondence in Tokyo,
Frederick Charles

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