Chinese and Russian fighter jets conducted sorties near Japan even as leaders from the United States, India, Australia and Japan met in Tokyo for a meeting of the Quad bloc on Tuesday.
Japanese defence minister Nobuo Kishi said Tokyo has communicated 'grave concerns' over the development to Russia and China.
Tokyo also said it scrambled jets after Russian and Chinese bombers were spotted near airspace. South Korea also said it deployed fighter jets to implement tactical measures after the provocative move by China.
The joint operation by the allies was nothing short of direct provocation but Beijing played down the incident, saying the bombers were carrying out 'regular joint strategic patrols' above the Sea of Japan.
Japan said the fighter jets did not breach the country's territorial airspace, but noted that it was the fourth such instance since November. Japan also said a Russian intelligence-gathering aircraft was also among the planes that took part in the operation.
"Two Chinese bombers joined two Russian bombers in the Sea of Japan and made a joint flight to the East China Sea ...After that, a total of four aircraft, two presumed (new) Chinese bombers -- which replaced the two Chinese bombers -- and two Russian bombers, conducted a joint flight from the East China Sea to the Pacific Ocean," Kishi told Agence France-Presse.
The Quad summit in Tokyo had warned the world against attempts to change the status quo, in direct reference to the war in Ukraine and the rising tensions between China and Taiwan. Though the Quad leaders did not name China or Russia, the world powers clearly took the message from the Quad summit and decided to display a brazen show of strength, instead.
avoided any direct mention of China, the four leaders today warned against attempts to "change the status quo by force" as concerns grow about whether Beijing could invade self-ruled Taiwan. The development also comes against the backdrop of the ongoing Ukraine-Russia war which also found mention in the statement. The four leaders have listed a range of activities that Beijing has regularly been accused of in the region.
Japan said it was ominous that China joined hands with Russia, which has breached Ukraine's territorial integrity. Tokyo called Moscow the aggressor, adding that it was a matter of concern that China collaborated with Russia.