A group of Russian and Chinese military planes was conducting a joint patrol mission near South Korea’s territory under the annual cooperation plan, the Chinese Defense Ministry’s official spokesman Col. Wu Qian said on Wednesday.
According to earlier reports, Seoul accused one of Russia’s planes of violating the country’s airspace.
“As far as the air incident is concerned, I would like to reiterate that China and Russia are engaged in all-encompassing strategic coordination. This patrol mission was among the areas of cooperation and was carried out within the framework of the annual plan of cooperation between the defense agencies of the two states. It was not directed against any other ‘third state,’” the official said during the presentation of the white paper headlined ‘China’s National Defense in the New Era.’
“As far as the practice of joint strategic patrols is concerned, both sides will make a decision on the matter on the basis of bilateral consultations. Under the strategic command of the heads of states, the armed forces of the two nations will continue developing their relations. The sides will support each other, respect mutual interests and develop corresponding mechanisms of cooperation,” he added.
Two Russian strategic bombers Tu-95MS and two Chinese strategic bombers Xian H-6 carried a scheduled flight over the neutral waters of the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea on Tuesday. The planes did not violate the borders of other states while passing the route.
However, according to the South Korean side, a Russian plane breached the republic’s airspace near the Dokdo (Takeshima) islands, which are disputed by Seoul and Tokyo. In response, South Korea’s F-15 and F-16 fighter planes were scrambled. It was stated that the fighter aircraft made warning shots near the Russian plane.
The Russian Defense Ministry said that South Korea’s planes made unprofessional maneuvers near the Russian planes, in particular crossed their course. No firing was carried out on the Tu-95MSs.