Russia, China debut joint Pacific patrols
Russian and Chinese warships have held their first joint patrols in the western part of the Pacific Ocean, Russia's defence ministry says.
Moscow and Beijing, which staged naval co-operation drills in the Sea of Japan earlier in October, have cultivated closer military and diplomatic ties in recent years at a time when their relations with the West have soured.
The joint patrols took place from October 17-23.
The naval manoeuvres have been closely watched by Japan which said earlier this week a group of 10 vessels from China and Russia sailed through the Tsugaru Strait separating Japan's main island and its northern island of Hokkaido.
"The group of ships passed through the Tsugaru Strait for the first time as part of the patrol," Russia's defence ministry said in a statement on Saturday.
The strait is regarded as international waters.
"The tasks of the patrols were the demonstration of the Russian and Chinese state flags, maintaining of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, and guardianship of the subjects of maritime economic activities of the two countries," the ministry added.
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