New Delhi: Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi Tuesday said the country scrambled jets after Russian and Chinese planes neared its airspace while leaders of the Quad grouping of countries were engaged in regional security talks in Tokyo.
Kishi was quoted by the AFP as saying that “two Chinese bombers joined two Russian bombers in the Sea of Japan and made a joint flight to the East China Sea”. Another Russian aircraft was also seen flying off Japan’s northernmost island Hoikkado towards central Japan’s Noto Peninsula, Kishi added.
Although no aircraft from either country violated Japan’s territorial airspace, Kishi’s government has communicated “grave concerns” to Russia and China over the flight activity, the AFP report noted.
Kishi also considered it as an attempt at “provocation”, in the light of the Quad meeting, according to Reuters.
Earlier on Tuesday, the four heads of state that make up the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue — Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Australia’s new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese — had met in Tokyo.
Kishida had hit out at Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, stating that none of the Quad members would permit “a unilateral change of status quo by force” and that the issue of a “free and open Indo-Pacific” remained more relevant than ever before.