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International relations

Russia and China fly military helicopters near Japanese island

Tokyo scrambles fighters on heels of joint naval passage through northern strait

A Russian Ka-27 helicopter lands during military exercises in 2019. Russian and Chinese military helicopters flew Oct. 21 from vessels near Japan.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Military helicopters took off from Chinese and Russian warships sailing near a Japanese island, according to the Ministry of Defense, days after a Sino-Russian naval passage through a chokepoint in Japan's north.

The latest incident took place around 4 a.m. Thursday about 50 km to 100 km southwest of Smith Island, part of the Izu archipelago stretching south of Tokyo off Japan's Pacific side. Two helicopters flew from frigates operated by China and Russia.

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