China, Russia agree to strengthen joint patrols

Chinese and Russian defense ministers have agreed to strengthen the two countries' military cooperation through joint drills and patrols.

China's defense chief Wei Fenghe and his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu held online talks on Tuesday. They were reportedly accompanied by naval and air force commanders.

The Chinese defense ministry said Wei and Shoigu affirmed the two countries' steadfast friendship and unity.

It said they agreed to strengthen cooperation in strategic exercises, joint patrols and other activities, so as to safeguard their core national interests.

The Russian defense ministry said the two sides confirmed that they will implement the consensus reached between the two heads of state, and are prepared to expand their military cooperation.

The two defense ministries recently announced that four Chinese and Russian bombers held patrols over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea last Friday.

Warships from the two countries also staged their first joint patrols in the same region last month.
Observers say similar activities could become more frequent.