Updated May 24, 2022 - World

Russia and China hold military exercise near Japan during Biden visit

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, U.S. President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a meeting.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, President Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 24 in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Yuichi Yamazaki / Pool/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

China and Russia sent jets over the seas in northeast Asia on Tuesday in what Japan's defense minister called a "provocative" and "unacceptable" move as President Biden was visiting the region, a senior administration official confirmed to Axios.

Driving the news: Japan says it scrambled jets as Chinese and Russian planes neared the country's airspace while Tokyo was hosting the leaders of the Quad group that includes the U.S., Reuters reports.

  • Biden was meeting with the prime ministers of Australia, Japan and India, which along with the U.S. make up the Quad.
  • The exercise shows that China is continuing its military cooperation with Russia in the Indo-Pacific, the official told Axios.

What they're saying: "We believe the fact that this action was taken during the Quad summit makes it more provocative than in the past," Japan's Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said during a news conference that was broadcast online," per Reuters.

  • The Pentagon and State Department didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The big picture: The military activity signals that the partnership between China and Russia remains intact even as the war in Ukraine continues, the New York Times notes.

  • Bomber exercises such as this one are likely planned well in advance by both countries, per the official.

Go deeper ... Quad leaders discuss Russia, China tensions at Tokyo summit

Editor's note: This story has been updated with information from a senior administration official.

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