Analysts said Wednesday, Russia, and China sent a joint bomber patrol which flew over a no-fly zone over South Korea and Japan on Tuesday. The analysts claim it was to challenge the U.S. influence in the territories. It caused an outcry from Washington over the incident as both Seoul and Tokyo stated a Russian jet violated the airspace.
Seoul stated that a Russian warplane entered into South Korean’s airspace two times as Tokyo took it a step further and fired off two warning shots and scrambled to get to their fighter jets in case it was a planned attack. Senior policy analyst at the RAND Corporation, Lyle Morris stated, “It’s a big deal because it displays confidence that the air forces of the two nations can coordinate a patrol of this nature in ways that the region will almost certainly find destabilizing.”
Russia and China are extremely close allies and have done multiple joint military exercises, but this seems to be more political and proving a point as the violation was deliberate over the disputed airspace. Ahn Chan-il, a researcher in Seoul, told AFP, “China and Russia are seeking to counterbalance Washington when it comes to North Korea’s nuclear issues. They are causing trouble in order to gain dominance in the region by provoking Washington’s two key allies.” Both Beijing and Moscow claimed they did not violate the air space and they were not targeting any of the countries or islands. Whether they did or they did not it was a bold move and statement which is taken very seriously at this time.
Also, more statements can be made as the jets were not just joyriding. According to Adam Ni, a Chinese researcher from the Macquarie University in Sydney said the jets were bombers and were nuclear-capable. There were two Russian Tu95s and two Chinese H-6Ks, “So it’s sending an additional message. I think that is a fairly massive development in terms of the regional security landscape. It also challenges the U.S.”
Massive trading has taken place between Beijing and Moscow as it was up 25 percent. At a meeting in June, the Chinese leader Xi Jinping called Vladimir Putin, “his best friend.” Analysts claim this is going further than economics, it is headed in a direction for a broader partnership. Michael Cole, a Taipei-based senior fellow with the Global Taiwan Institute in Washington stated, “It also signals that Russian-PRC jointness has reached sufficient maturity that they can now conduct joint patrols. This, in my view, constitutes a direct challenge to the US alliance system in the Indo Pacific.”
This brings a concern to the Indo Pacific region as China has the largest army in the world and is second in spending only to the U.S. They feel the warfare will be more of “intelligent” combat by using cloud computing, big data, and the newest high-tech military technologies. Beijing’s defense ministry spokesman, Senior Colonel Wu Qian stated, “The joint exercises would push the Sino-Russian military relations in the new era to a new historical height”.
Analysts say there will be more joint operations to come, and even though the two leaders claim to be “best friends,” and powerhouses, Ni said, “In a way still do not trust each other, they have a common perceived security challenge in the United States.
Cole added to the statement, “This is also a natural offshoot of growing joint military exercises between Russia and the PRC in recent years. It says, ‘if the US, Japan and ROK (South Korea) can do such things, why not us’?”
In a rebuttal, Moscow officials claimed, “South Korean military jets dangerously intercepted two of its bombers over neutral waters.”
So what are China and Russia really up to? More analyst claim it was just a test to see how far they could go as a joint alliance. In a statement put out by the Russian Ministry of Defense, “The operation was the first joint air patrol using long-range aircraft in the Asia-Pacific region by Russian and Chinese forces. The joint patrols were conducted “in order to deepen and develop Russian-Chinese relations as part of the comprehensive partnership [between Moscow and Beijing], further increasing the level of interaction between the armed forces of the two countries, improving their ability to conduct joint actions, and strengthening global strategic stability.”
Russia and China’s message is mostly a “showcase of their shared power sending a message to Tokyo, Seoul, and Washington.” Whatever it was, we can believe, America is watching!”