China stages military drills near North Korea in a warning to the US that it will uphold the 'balance of power' in the region if Trump considers attacking Kim Jong-un
- China carried out military drills in Yellow Sea and East China Sea
- Chinese surveillance aircraft has been ?flying in 'new regions', military said
- It is reportedly?being carried out in response to the US-South Korean drills
- The annual joint military exercise Vigilant Ace will run until Friday
China's Air Force said Monday that a surveillance aircraft had been conducting drills in the Yellow Sea and East China Sea to 'improve combat-readiness and safeguard the country's strategic interests'.
The surveillance flight would have taken place as U.S. fighter jets arrived in South Korea ahead of the annual joint drill which started yesterday.
China has been staging military drills in the Yellow and East China Sea in recent days, the Air Force said, reportedly in response to the current US-South Korean joint exercise (pictured)
The aircraft took a flight path not previously flown to regions they had never previously operated in, spokesman Shen Jinke said, according to a post on the Air Force's official microblog.
It also coordinated with fighter jets, alert aircraft and guided missile forces, the post stated.
Experts say that the military drills were a response to the ?annual U.S.-South Korean drill, called Vigilant Ace, which will run until Friday.?
'China is showing that it can uphold the balance of power in the region,'?Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military analyst, told The Telegraph.
The annual U.S.-South Korean drill will see six F-22 Raptor stealth fighters to be deployed among the more than 230 aircraft taking part.
A US Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth jet takes off at a South Korean air base in Gwangju on Monday as the joint air exercise started
North Korea's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country called U.S. President Donald Trump 'insane' on Sunday and said the drills would 'push the already acute situation on the Korean peninsula to the brink of nuclear war'.
F-35 fighters will also join the drills, which will include the largest number of 5th generation fighters ever to have taken part, according to a South Korea-based U.S. Air Force spokesman.
Around 12,000 U.S. service members, including from the Marines and Navy, will join South Korean troops. Aircraft taking part will be flown from eight U.S. and South Korean military installations.
South Korean media reports said B-1B Lancer bombers could join the exercise this week. The U.S. Air Force spokesman could not confirm the reports.
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