Oct 24, 2021 08:31 UTC

Russian and Chinese warships have, for the first time, conducted joint patrols in the western part of the Pacific Ocean, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

The one-week patrol, which was concluded on Saturday, involved a total of 10 warships, five from each nation, in the Tsugaru strait that connects the Sea of Japan with the Pacific Ocean. 

“The group of ships passed through the Tsugaru Strait for the first time as part of the patrol," the Ministry said in a statement.

The objective of the joint patrol, it stated, was to “demonstrate the state flags of Russia and China, maintain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region and also protect facilities of both countries' maritime economic activity.”

The two navies also practiced joint tactical maneuvers and conducted a series of military drills, the statement added.  

Japan said Tuesday that ten vessels from China and Russia had sailed through the strait, which separates Japan's main island from its northern island of Hokkaido.

Russia and China have an ongoing military partnership and have conducted a series of joint military drills, the latest of which was carried out in the Sea of Japan earlier this month.

President Vladimir Putin said earlier this year that Moscow and Beijing were "united like a mountain" with an "unbreakable" friendship.

The two counties have cultivated closer military and diplomatic relations in recent years as their ties with the West have soured.