Chinese and Russian fighter jets flew together near Japan on Tuesday as Quad leaders met in Tokyo, according to Japan’s defence minister.
Nobuo Kishi, Japan’s foreign minister, said the government had expressed “grave concerns” to Russia and China about the flights, which occurred while leaders from the United States, India, Australia, and Japan met to discuss regional security.
The planes did not violate territorial airspace, according to the defence ministry, and it is the fourth time that long-distance joint flights by Russia and China have been spotted near Japan since November.
“Two Chinese bombers joined two Russian bombers in the Sea of Japan and flew together to the East China Sea,” Kishi said.
“Following that, two presumed (new) Chinese bombers – which replaced the two Chinese bombers – and two Russian bombers flew together from the East China Sea to the Pacific Ocean.”
On Tuesday, he said, a Russian intelligence-gathering aircraft flew from northern Hokkaido to the Noto Peninsula in central Japan, calling the moves “particularly provocative” given the summit in Tokyo.