The game of chicken in the China Seas continues

The latest gambit, via the Japan Times:

Japan, India and the United States are set to hold a major trilateral naval drill starting Friday in the waters off the east coast of Okinawa Prefecture, the Maritime Self Defense Forces said in a press release Tuesday.

The large-scale exercises, called Malabar and scheduled to run through June 17, are part of an annual event that since last year has included Japan as a permanent member.

The drills, which will focus on anti-submarine warfare and air-defense training, are likely to bolster ties between the three allies amid Beijing’s militarization of the disputed South China Sea and its repeated incursions into Japanese territorial waters in the East China Sea. The East China Sea is home to the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, which are also claimed by China, where they are known as the Diaoyus.

And a countermove to another provocation, via Reuters:

A Chinese fighter jet carried out an “unsafe” intercept of a U.S. spy plane on routine patrol on Tuesday in international airspace over the East China Sea, U.S. Pacific Command said.

The intercept involved two Chinese J-10 fighter planes and a U.S. Air Force RC-135 reconnaissance plane, it said in a statement.

“One of the intercepting Chinese jets had an unsafe excessive rate of closure on the RC-135 aircraft. Initial assessment is that this seems to be a case of improper airmanship, as no other provocative or unsafe maneuvers occurred,” Pacific Command said. Its statement did not say how close the Chinese fighter came to the U.S. plane.

“The Department of Defense is addressing the issue with China in appropriate diplomatic and military channels,” the statement said.

One of these days, push is gonna come to shove. . .

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