Japanese and US forces on Wednesday conducted a joint fighter jet flight over the Sea of Japan, the Japanese Ministry of Defense said yesterday, in an apparent response to a Russia-China joint bomber flight while US President Joe Biden was in Tokyo.
The Japan-US joint flight was meant to “confirm combined capabilities of the Japanese SDF [Self-Defense Forces] and the US forces, and to further strengthen the Japan-US alliance,” the SDF’s Joint Staff Office said in a statement.
“In order to respond to any emergency, we are taking utmost readiness,” it added.
Photo: Japanese Self-Defense Forces Joint Staff Office via AP
The flight was also held hours after North Korea fired three missiles, including an intercontinental ballistic missile, toward the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, amid concerns about another nuclear test by Pyongyang. The missiles fell into waters outside of Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
Chinese and Russian strategic bombers conducted joint flights near Japan on Tuesday, while Biden was meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and their counterparts from India and Australia for the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), an Indo-Pacific security and economic coalition meant as a counterweight to China’s growing influence in the region, the ministry said.
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 enter Japanese airspace, Japanese Minister of Defense Nobuo Kishi said.
Separately, a Russian IL-20 reconnaissance plane was spotted flying off the northern Japanese coast.
The Chinese-Russian joint flight represented an “increased level of provocation” and a threat to the Quad, Kishi said later on Tuesday.
The Chinese Ministry of National Defense said that the Chinese and Russian militaries carried out joint strategic air patrols above the Sea of Japan, the East China Sea and the western Pacific.
Wednesday’s Japan-US joint flight involved eight warplanes based in Japan, including four US F-16 fighters and four Japanese F-15s, the SDF Joint Staff Office said.
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