Chinese H-6K Badger Extended Range Strategic Bomber of the Peoples Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF).

11 Chinese military planes flew near southern Japanese islands, which caused Japan to scramble fighter jets, in what China said was a part of a drill that aims to improve its long-range combat abilities, reports said.

The planes which consist of eight bombers, two intelligence gathering planes, and one early-warning aircraft flew near Okinawa and Miyako without violating Japan’s airspace, said in a statement by the Japanese defence ministry on Friday.

The ministry said whilst others made flights close to neighboring islands, some of the planes flew between the two islands.

A spokesman from Chinese Air Force said that a H-6K Long Range Strategic Bomber and several types of planes were involved in Friday’s drill over the western Pacific, Xinhuanews agency reported.

Japanese ministry have yet to comment on the events, it was “unusual” for China to dispatch such a large fleet near Japan’s airspace, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported.

The ministry was analyzing the purpose of the mission, it added.

See also: Japan, ready to dispatch warship to patrol South China Sea

To defend its airspace from Russian and Chinese aircraft in the area, Japan always scrambles their fighter jets very often.

The move comes as tensions run high in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) after the US sends its warship near one of the artificial islands claimed by China and the said plan of Japan to send a warship to help US patrol the South China Sea. -John Esconde