Dozens of U.S. and Japanese warplanes engaged in joint military exercises over the waters along China’s east coast, Japan’s Ministry of Defense reported Thursday.
An assortment of 52 planes, including F-15s, F-35s and multiple types of support craft, conducted “bilateral training” over the Sea of Japan, Pacific Ocean and the East China Sea this week aimed at enhancing “deterrence and response capabilities,” Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF) announced. The U.S. and Japanese air force exercise follows a spike in Sino-Russian military coordination in the Indo-Pacific that reignited during President Joe Biden’s visit to Tokyo, Japan, in May, according to multiple reports.
The security situation in the Indo-Pacific is “becoming increasingly severe” in light of Beijing’s “attempts to change the status quo by coercion,” Japan’s ASDF reported on Monday. (RELATED: China’s Neighbors On Red Alert Over Beijing’s Military Build-Up)
The navies of the U.S. and Japan also reportedly ran joint patrols in the waters near the Nansei Islands, located near Taiwan, and the Senkaku Islands this week, CNN reported. Although the U.S. takes no position on which government has sovereignty over the Senkakus, China, Japan and Taiwan all claim sovereignty over the islands, according to a congressional report.
The U.S. and Japanese naval patrols followed a week after Chinese and Russian warships sailed near the Senkakus on July 5, according to the U.S. Naval Institute.
The U.S. and Japanese air force drills come just days after Chinese social media users celebrated the assassination of Japan’s former prime minister Shinzo Abe, who was shot to death by a Japanese military veteran using a homemade weapon while making a speech in Nara, Japan, on July 8. Subsequently, the hashtag “Abe has no vital signs” quickly went viral on the Chinese social media site Weibo, garnering over 28,000 likes, according to Weibo. (RELATED: China’s Military Has Violated Taiwan Airspace 3 Times More Under Biden Than Trump)
While in office, Abe attempted to amend his nation’s constitution to allow Japan to build up its military forces, The New York Times reported. Although Abe was ultimately unsuccessful in revising Japan’s constitution, he managed to create a national security council which overcame “jurisdictional barriers” between government agencies and allowed for more efficient collection of intelligence, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The Chinese Embassy, the Japanese Embassy and the Department of Defense did not respond immediately to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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