Boasting of close bilateral ties amid the prolonged escalation of tension between Washington and Beijing, Russia and China reportedly staged naval cooperation drills earlier this month traversing the Pacific Ocean and East China Sea.
According to Japan's Kyodo News Agency Sunday, ten vessels from China and Russia sailed through the Osumi Strait off Japan's southwestern prefecture of Kagoshima.
It added this was the first time that Tokyo's defense ministry confirmed a flotilla of Chinese and Russian vessels passing through the strait, which is regarded as international waters.
This means foreign ships are allowed to navigate, but Tokyo said it will continue to monitor the two navies, describing the maneuvers as (quote) "unusual."
The warships are believed to have taken part in a joint naval drill in the area in mid-October.
Over the weekend, Russia's defense ministry said the patrols were aimed at maintaining regional peace and stability.
On Sunday, China's defense ministry said they were aimed at further enhancing the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership in the new era, and to jointly maintain international and regional strategic stability.
Kim Hyo-sun, Arirang News.