China sends warships and Japan sends fighters: What's cooking in the eastern sky?
More than 50 US and Japanese warplanes flew over waters off Japan this week amid rising tensions with China and Russia
Japanese and US fighter jets flew over the Sea of Japan, the Pacific Ocean, and the East China Sea with the aim of "demonstrating tactical skills and joint response to crisis situations," the Japanese defense ministry reported.
Also, this week, U.S. and Japanese naval patrol planes conducted a drill near Ryukyu Island, Japan's closest territory to Taiwan. Near the Senkaku Islands, an uninhabited chain of islands under Japanese rule was also claimed by China.
Japan's defense ministry said that Chinese coast guard and navy ships have spent a record amount of time in the waters around the Senkaku this year. China's foreign ministry said earlier this year that Chinese coast guard patrols in the waters surrounding the islands were "an appropriate exercise of China's sovereign rights".
Strategic deterrence exercises and training
At the same time, Chinese and Russian warships have been increasingly present around Japan in recent weeks.
This week's drills came after the US Air Force moved some of its troops to the Indo-Pacific.
Two B-2 bombers have been deployed from Missouri to Royal Australian Air Force Base Amberley where they will conduct training and strategic deterrence missions with allies, and partners, and join forces in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific, PACAF reported on Sunday).