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China, Russia hold joint strategic air patrol over Asia-Pacific

BEIJING (PTI): Chinese and Russian air forces on Friday conducted a joint strategic aerial patrol in the Asia-Pacific region, the third such drill in recent months as the two countries firmed up their strategic alliance in the backdrop of a push by the US and NATO.

An aircraft formation composed of two H-6K bombers from China and two Tu-95 MC planes from Russia patrolled over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea in the Western Pacific, according to the defence ministries of the two countries.

During the patrol, the planes strictly followed the relevant provisions of international law and did not enter the airspace of any other country, China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

It was the third aerial patrol jointly held by Chinese and Russian militaries.

The patrol, part of an annual cooperation schedule of the two militaries, was aimed at strengthening the strategic coordination and joint operation capacity between the two defence setups and did not target a third party, the Xinhua report said.

The two neighbours face intense strategic rivalry from the US and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Russia and NATO in recent months have accused each other of military build up in the border with Ukraine and drills in the Black Sea off Crimea. Similarly, the US and China have exchanged heated words over the autonomy of Taiwan and democratic freedoms in Hong Kong.

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