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Russia and China launch provocative war games in the Pacific

Russia and China are flexing their military might with provocative war games, stepping up the pressure on U.S. President Joe Biden as he meets with G7 allies in the UK and prepares to face Vladimir Putin in Geneva.

In recent days, both Beijing and Moscow have goaded Biden with aggressive military exercises, with Chinese warplanes encroaching on Taiwan and Russian bombers flying off Hawaii.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Navy said an aircraft carrier strike group led by the USS Ronald Reagan had entered the South China Sea to conduct maritime security operations and strike exercises.

The Navy said the strike group is committed to upholding U.S. security agreements with regional allies and partners, as well as demonstrating the capability of forward-deployed naval forces to quickly respond to ‘any contingency across the region.’  

A Russian sailor participates in naval war games in the Pacific in video released by the Russian ministry of defense. Russia’s massive war games, the largest since the Cold War, come as Biden prepares to meet with Putin

A Chinese Air Police 500 AWACS similar to one that encroached on Taiwan on Tuesday is seen above. Taiwan reported the largest ever incursion into its ADIZ, with 28 warplanes breaching the identification zone

A Chinese Air Police 500 AWACS similar to one that encroached on Taiwan on Tuesday is seen above. Taiwan reported the largest ever incursion into its ADIZ, with 28 warplanes breaching the identification zone

Sailors conduct flight operations on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan in the South China Sea Tuesday

Sailors conduct flight operations on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan in the South China Sea Tuesday

‘The South China Sea is pivotal to the free flow of commerce that fuels the economies of those nations committed to international law and rules based order,’ said Rear Adm. Will Pennington, commander of the Ronald Reagan carrier strike group, in a statement. 

‘It is both a privilege and a pleasure to work alongside our allies, partners, and joint service teammates to provide full spectrum support to key maritime commons and ensure all nations continue to benefit from a free and open Indo-Pacific region,’ he added. 

China, which claims almost all of the disputed waterway, frequently objects loudly to U.S. military missions in the South China Sea. 

Taiwan reports massive incursion of 28 Chinese warplanes in its Air Defense Identification Zone 

Meanwhile, Taiwan has reported the largest incursion ever on its Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) by Chinese warplanes.

Twenty-eight Chinese air force aircraft, including fighters and nuclear-capable bombers, entered the Taiwan ADIZ on Tuesday, the island’s government said.

While there was no immediate comment from Beijing, the news comes after the Group of Seven leaders issued a joint statement on Sunday scolding China for a series of issues.

The G7 underscored the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, comments China condemned as ‘slander’.

A map shows the routes of 28 Chinese air force aircraft, including fighters and nuclear-capable bombers, entering the Taiwan ADIZ on Tuesday

A map shows the routes of 28 Chinese air force aircraft, including fighters and nuclear-capable bombers, entering the Taiwan ADIZ on Tuesday

A Chinese J-16 fighter jet similar to one that participated in the incursion is seen in a file photo

A Chinese J-16 fighter jet similar to one that participated in the incursion is seen in a file photo 

Taiwan's Ministry of Defense said four Xian H-6 bombers like this one took part in the latest incursion (file photo)

Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense said four Xian H-6 bombers like this one took part in the latest incursion (file photo)

A Shaanxi Y-8 EW patrol aircraft is seen in a file photo. A similar plane joined Tuesday's incursion on Taiwan

A Shaanxi Y-8 EW patrol aircraft is seen in a file photo. A similar plane joined Tuesday’s incursion on Taiwan

China, which claims Taiwan as its sovereign territory despite decades of separate governing rule, describes the island as its most sensitive territorial issue and a red line the United States should never cross. Beijing has never renounced the possible use of force to ensure eventual unification. 

Leaders in Taiwan have complained over the last few months of repeated missions by China’s air force near the island, concentrated in the southwestern part of its air defense zone near the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands.

The latest Chinese mission involved 14 J-16 and six J-11 fighters, as well as four H-6 bombers, which can carry nuclear weapons, and anti-submarine, electronic warfare and early warning aircraft, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said.

It was the largest daily incursion since the ministry began regularly reporting Chinese Air Force activities in Taiwan’s ADIZ last year, breaking the previous record of 25 aircraft reported on April 12.

The ministry added that Taiwanese combat aircraft were dispatched to intercept and warn away the Chinese aircraft, while missile systems were also deployed to monitor them.

Not only did the Chinese aircraft fly in an area close to the Pratas Islands, but the bombers and some of the fighters flew around the southern part of Taiwan close to the bottom tip of the island, according to a map the ministry provided.

The Nimitz class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) conducts routine operations last last month. The Ronald Reagan is forward-deployed to the South China Sea for strike exercises

The Nimitz class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) conducts routine operations last last month. The Ronald Reagan is forward-deployed to the South China Sea for strike exercises

Sailors conduct flight operations on the flight deck of aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan on Tuesday

Sailors conduct flight operations on the flight deck of aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan on Tuesday

An EA-18G Growler attached to the Shadowhawks of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 141 launches from the flight deck of the USS Ronald Reagan on Monday in the South China Sea

An EA-18G Growler attached to the Shadowhawks of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 141 launches from the flight deck of the USS Ronald Reagan on Monday in the South China Sea

China’s Defense Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

China has in the past described such missions as necessary to protect the country’s sovereignty and deal with ‘collusion’ between Taipei and Washington.

The United States, which like most countries has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, has watched the island’s rising tensions with Beijing with alarm.

‘In response to the growing PRC threat, we will continue deepening our unofficial security relationship to ensure Taiwan has sufficient capabilities to defend itself,’ a senior U.S. administration official told Reuters, referring to the People’s Republic of China.

A Pentagon spokesperson added that China’s ‘increasing military activities conducted in the vicinity of Taiwan are destabilizing and increase the risk of miscalculation.’

Russian bombers draw US stealth fighter response as they draw near ADIZ off Hawaii 

Russian President Vladimir Putin is putting on a show of force with the largest naval exercises in the Pacific Ocean since the end of the Cold War ahead of a meeting with Biden.

At least 20 ships, submarines, and support vessels, flanked by 20 fighter jets, are taking part in the large-scale war games. 

Biden last week warned there would be ‘robust and meaningful’ consequences for Russia ‘s ‘harmful activities’ as he started his first international tour as president with the G7 summit. Putin and Biden will meet in Geneva on Wednesday.

On Sunday, the U.S. scrambled F-22s from Hawaii in response to Russian bomber flights, but the bombers did not enter the American ADIZ and were not intercepted. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin is putting on a show of force with the largest naval exercises in the Pacific Ocean since the end of the Cold War ahead of a meeting with Biden

Russian President Vladimir Putin is putting on a show of force with the largest naval exercises in the Pacific Ocean since the end of the Cold War ahead of a meeting with Biden

At least 20 ships, submarines, and support vessels, flanked by 20 fighter jets, are taking part in the large-scale war games

At least 20 ships, submarines, and support vessels, flanked by 20 fighter jets, are taking part in the large-scale war games

‘U.S. Indo-Pacific Command is monitoring the Russian vessels operating in international waters in the Western Pacific,’ U.S. Indo-Pacific Command spokesman Captain Mike Kafka told CBS News in a statement.

‘We operate in accordance with international law of the sea and in the air to ensure that all nations can do the same without fear or contest and in order to secure a free and open Indo-Pacific. As Russia operates within the region, it is expected to do so in accordance with international law,’ he added.

Footage of the mass Russian exercise posted by the Ministry of Defense shows Russian sailors tracking and ‘driving out’ a mock enemy submarine.

‘During the exercise, the crews of the Pacific Fleet’s warships fired from the automatic naval gun mount AK-630 and the universal naval artillery A-190,’ a Moscow defense ministry statement said.  

The search and tracking of the mock enemy’s submarines were carried out by the large anti-submarine ship Admiral Panteleev equipped with guided-missile weapons, the frigate Marshal Shaposhnikov and three corvettes, according to Sputnik.

Former chief of the General Staff of the Russian Navy, Admiral Viktor Kravchenko, said: ‘In the post-Soviet period, there have been no comparable exercises involving such a large number of forces.’ 

Rear Admiral Konstantin Kabantsov termed the drills ‘unique’ due to the large area of the Pacific Ocean where they are taking place and added that ‘such exercises have not been conducted… in the recent history of the Russian fleet.’ 

Biden meeting with Putin in March 2011 when he was vice president. The two leaders will meet on Wednesday in Geneva

Biden meeting with Putin in March 2011 when he was vice president. The two leaders will meet on Wednesday in Geneva

Earlier, Moscow also claimed it had intercepted a US reconnaissance plane on its Pacific coast, preventing it from approaching the Russian state border.

Video from the cockpit of a Su-35 fighter showed the American RC-135 spy plane, according to reports.

Biden and Putin are set to meet at an 18th-century Swiss villa overlooking Lake Geneva later this week for a summit. It’s their first face-to-face meeting since Biden became president. 

Biden has already warned Putin over ‘harmful activities’, saying as he arrived for the G7 summit that: ‘The United States is back and democracies of the world are standing together to face the toughest challenges and the issues that matter most to our future… 

‘Our alliances weren’t built by coercion or maintained by threats, they’re grounded on democratic ideals and shared visions for future and where every voice matters.’ 

The sit down comes amid rising tensions between Washington and Moscow, with Biden making it clear he will take a tougher stance on Russian aggression than his predecessor in the Oval Office, Donald Trump. 

Biden has declined to hold a press conference with Putin following the talks, as is traditional when two world leaders meet. 

It was an indication both of the administration’s reluctance to grant Putin yet another prominent platform in addition to the summit itself – as well as a reluctance on the part of the White House to put Biden in an unscripted situation that could go off the rails. 

Earlier, Moscow also claimed it had intercepted a US reconnaissance plane on its Pacific coast, preventing it from approaching the Russian state border.

Video from the cockpit of a Su-35 fighter showed the American RC-135 spy plane, according to reports.

A Russian military plane takes off to participate in the naval war games in the Pacific this week

A Russian military plane takes off to participate in the naval war games in the Pacific this week

A Russian helicopter is seen participated in the massive war games exercise in the Pacific

A Russian helicopter is seen participated in the massive war games exercise in the Pacific

The Russian war games come as Biden prepares to meet with Putin for the first time as US president

The Russian war games come as Biden prepares to meet with Putin for the first time as US president

Biden and Putin are set to meet at an 18th-century Swiss villa overlooking Lake Geneva on Wednesday. It’s their first face-to-face meeting since Biden became president. 

Biden has already warned Putin over ‘harmful activities’, saying as he arrived for the G7 summit that: ‘The United States is back and democracies of the world are standing together to face the toughest challenges and the issues that matter most to our future… 

‘Our alliances weren’t built by coercion or maintained by threats, they’re grounded on democratic ideals and shared visions for future and where every voice matters.’ 

The sit down comes amid rising tensions between Washington and Moscow, with Biden making it clear he will take a tougher stance on Russian aggression than his predecessor in the Oval Office, Donald Trump. 

Biden has declined to hold a press conference with Putin following the talks, as is traditional when two world leaders meet. 

It was an indication both of the administration’s reluctance to grant Putin yet another prominent platform in addition to the summit itself – as well as a reluctance on the part of the White House to put Biden in an unscripted situation that could go off the rails.  


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