Beijing (AFP) – China has sent fighter planes for the first time over a strait near Japan, the two governments said Monday, after Tokyo announced it may patrol alongside the US in the disputed South China Sea.
More than 40 Chinese military aircraft on Sunday traversed the Miyako Strait between Japan’s Miyako and Okinawa Islands, to carry out training in the West Pacific, according to a statement on China’s defence ministry website.
The Sukhoi Su-30 fighters, bombers and refuelling aircraft did not violate Japanese airspace.
Japan’s defence ministry said it was the first time Chinese fighters had passed over the strait.
The drill is aimed at “testing far sea combat capabilities”, the Chinese statement said. It follows China’s first military flight, carried out by spy planes, over the Miyako Strait last year.
The move comes after Japanese Defence Minister Tomomi Inada said earlier this month that Tokyo would increase its engagement in the South China Sea through joint training cruises with the US Navy, exercises with regional navies and capacity-building assistance to coastal nations.
Full article: China flies military planes over strait near Japan (Yahoo!)