The Ministry of National Defense spokesman Wu Qian. (Photo/mod.gov.cn)
The joint patrol conducted by Chinese and Russian naval forces in the West and North Pacific was not targeted at any third party and had nothing to do with the current international and regional situation, a national defense spokesman said on Monday.
Senior Colonel Wu Qian, spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense, made the remarks in response to allegations made by the Japanese Defense Ministry's Joint Staff Office and United States Representative Mike Rogers, who is also chairman of the US House Armed Services Committee.
Japan's defense authority said that Chinese and Russian naval vessels entered the Sea of Okhotsk via the Soya Strait, noting that its Maritime Self-Defense Force sent warships and jets to follow and monitor the joint naval formation.
On Wednesday, US congressman Rogers claimed in a statement that the China-Russia joint naval patrol was "meant to intimidate" the US, and stressed that the US "cannot be intimidated".
Wu said the naval fleets from China and Russia carried out joint maritime patrol in certain waters of the western and northern Pacific Ocean, in accordance with the annual cooperation plan between the Chinese and Russian militaries.
"This operation was not targeting any third party and was unrelated to the current international and regional situation," he said.
In a statement issued in late July, the Chinese Defense Ministry had announced the third China-Russia joint maritime patrol.
Also, in 2021 and 2022, the two countries had organized two rounds of joint naval patrols based on their annual cooperation schedule, according to the two defense ministries.
Regarding the recent joint patrol, Wu said the naval vessels from both China and Russia "strictly adhered to international law and conducted the entire journey in international waters".
The spokesman criticized the dangerous move of the Japanese side. "The close tracking and monitoring by the Japanese side is highly dangerous and extremely prone to causing misunderstandings, misjudgments and maritime or aerial accidents," he said.
He urged the Japanese side to stop "meaningless" interference, stop affecting the healthy development of China-Japan ties and cease irresponsible actions that could undermine regional peace and stability.
Wu pointed out that the cooperation between the Chinese and Russian militaries is "open and transparent", aiming to jointly defend international fairness and justice, as well as maintain global and regional security and stability.
"It is fundamentally different from the practices of certain countries that cling to a Cold War mentality, and engage in bloc confrontation, hegemony and bullying everywhere," he said.
The spokesman announced that State Councilor and Defense Minister Li Shangfu will participate in the 11th Moscow Conference on International Security in Russia and travel to Belarus from Monday through Saturday at the invitation of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin, respectively.
Li will deliver a keynote speech at the security conference and hold meetings with defense leaders from Russia and other countries, Wu said. The minister will also meet and hold talks with leaders of the Belarusian government and military, and visit military units in Belarus, he added.