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Chinese, Russian navies conclude first joint patrols in Western Pacific

An image captured by the JMSDF showing the Russian and Chinese warships that took part in the first Sino-Russian naval patrols in the Western Pacific, which concluded on 23 October. (Japan's Joint Staff)

The Chinese and Russian navies have concluded their first-ever joint patrols in international waters east of Japan in the Western Pacific: a further indication of the growing defence co-operation between the two countries that has been raising concerns among the United States and its allies.

The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in a statement that the patrols, which took place from 17 to 23 October, involved five warships from each navy, with the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) being represented by Type 055 destroyer Nanchang, Type 052D destroyer Kumming, Type 054A frigates Liuzhou and Binzhou, and Type 903A replenishment vessel Dongpinghu.

The Russian Navy fielded vessels from its Pacific Fleet, including Steregushchiy I (Project 20380/20381)-class corvettes Gromkiy and Aldar Tsydenzhapov, Udaloy (Project 1155)-class destroyers Admiral Panteleyev and Admiral Tributs, as well as Marshal Nedelin (Project 1914)-class missile-range instrumentation ship Marshal Krylov.

According to information provided by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), which monitored the ship's movements and activities, the vessels entered the Western Pacific Ocean through the 20 km- wide Tsugaru Strait – located between Japan's main islands of Honshu and Hokkaido – on 18 October. The ships left the area on 22 October after entering the East China Sea through the 40 km-wide Osumi Strait, which is located between the Osumi Peninsula and Tanegashima Island.

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