TOKYO (AP) — Japanese and U.S. forces conducted a joint flight of fighter jets over the Sea of Japan, Japan’s Defense Ministry said Thursday, in an apparent response to a joint Russian-Chinese bomber flight as the US President Joe Biden was in Tokyo.
The joint Japan-US flight on Wednesday was meant to “confirm the combined capabilities of the Japanese SDF and US forces and further strengthen the Japan-US alliance,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Japan Self-Defense Force said in a statement. a statement. “To respond to any emergency, we are taking maximum preparation.”
The flight also came hours after North Korea fired three missiles, including an intercontinental ballistic missile, into the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan, amid concerns about another nuclear test by Pyongyang. The missiles fell into the waters outside of Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
Chinese and Russian strategic bombers conducted joint flights near Japan on Tuesday, Japan’s Defense Ministry said, as Biden met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his Indian and Australian counterparts for the Quad, an economic and Indo-Pacific security system intended as a counterweight to China’s growing influence in the region.
Chinese H-6 bombers joined Russian TU-95s over the Sea of Japan and flew to areas over the East China Sea but did not violate Japanese airspace, Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said. Separately, a Russian IL-20 reconnaissance aircraft was spotted flying off the northern coast of Japan.
The joint Sino-Russian flight represented a “higher level of provocation” and a threat to the Quad, Kishi said later Tuesday.
The Chinese Defense Ministry said the Chinese and Russian militaries conducted joint strategic air patrols over the Sea of Japan, the East China Sea and the western Pacific.
The joint Japan-US flight on Wednesday involved eight Japan-based fighter jets, including four US F-16 fighters and four Japanese F-15s, the Japanese Joint Chiefs of Staff said.