Russia, China warships hold first joint patrols in Pacific

Russian and Chinese warships have held their first joint patrols in the Western part of the Pacific ocean.

The Russian defense ministry said in a statement on Saturday that the patrols took place from October 17-23.

Moscow and Beijing have cultivated closer military and diplomatic ties in recent years at a time when their relations with the West have soured.

The pair staged naval cooperation drills in the Sea of Japan earlier in October.

The naval maneuvers have been closely watched by Japan which said earlier this week that a group of 10 vessels from China and Russia sailed through the Tsugaru Strait separating Japan's main island and its northern island of Hokkaido.

The strait is regarded as international waters.

Russia's defense ministry said in the statement that "The tasks of the patrols were the demonstration of the Russian and Chinese state flags, maintaining of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, and guardianship of the subjects of maritime economic activities of the two countries."

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