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Russia and China carry out joint air force drills

Russian and Chinese air forces took part in joint military exercises in the Asia-Pacific region, the Russian defence ministry said on Wednesday. 

“The Russian Air Force and the Air Force of the People’s Liberation Army of China conducted another joint air patrol in the Asia-Pacific region,” the ministry said in a statement.

Russian strategic missile carriers TU-95 and Chinese Xian H-6 flew over the Sea of Japan and East China Sea for eight hours, according to the statement.

A pariah in the West since the Ukraine offensive, Putin has sought to bolster ties with Asia, particularly with China.

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“For the first time in the history of air patrols, Russian planes landed in the people’s Republic of China, and Chinese aircraft landed on the territory of the Russian Federation,” the ministry said.

The exercises were carried out “in strict compliance with international law” and were “not directed against third countries,” the statement read.

Moscow is hoping to find common ground with Beijing as both have ambitions to surpass the US-led global order.

China has not condemned Russia’s military operation in Ukraine but despite a “no limit” friendship Beijing has also rejected supplying Moscow with weapons.

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The Asia-Pacific is a strategic region for the US, China and Russia. 

The US has had to balance its efforts in Ukraine, where it seeks to respond to Russia’s actions, and in Asia, where it wants to deter China, for example in Taiwan.

Amid intensifying rivalry, China’s Xi Jinping met his US counterpart Joe Biden at the G20 summit two weeks ago, where they promised to dial down the rhetoric and work to close the yawning gap between the two powers.

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