China says air patrol with Russia not directed at any country

China’s military said on Wednesday that joint aerial exercises conducted on Tuesday with Russia over the Sea of Japan, East China Sea and Western Pacific were not directed at any country.

The patrol, the first since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, was part of an annual military exercise, China’s defence ministry had said on its website on Tuesday.

The exercises near Japanese and South Korea air defence zones took place as U.S. President Joe Biden wrapped up a trip to Asia, where he angered China by saying he would be willing to respond militarily to defend Taiwan if it came under Chinese attack.

China and Russia have held such patrols in 2019, 2020 and 2021 but in the latter half of the year.

Author: Tony Munroe, Reuters

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