Fu Gan/Xinhua via AP, file
BANGKOK — The Chinese Air Force is sending fighter jets and bombers to Thailand on Sunday for a joint exercise with the Thai military.
The training will include air support, strikes on ground targets and small and large-scale troop deployment, China’s Defense Ministry said in a statement posted on its website.
China’s expansion of military activities in the Asia-Pacific region has alarmed the United States and its allies and is part of growing strategic and economic competition that has stoked tensions between the world’s two largest economies.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visited Thailand in June as part of an effort to bolster what he called the US’ “unprecedented web of alliances and partnerships” In the region.
The Falcon Strike exercise will be held at the Royal Thai Air Base in Udorn, northern Thailand, near the border with Laos. Thai fighter jets and airborne early warning aircraft from both countries will also participate.
The training comes as the United States holds combat drills in Indonesia with Indonesia, Australia, Japan and Singapore in the largest iteration of the Super Garuda Shield drills since their launch in 2009.
It also follows China sending warships, missiles and planes into the waters and air around Taiwan in a threatening response to a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. , on the self-governing island, which China claims as its territory.
Kurt Campbell, President Joe Biden’s top adviser on the Indo-Pacific, said on Friday the United States would take decisive action to support Taiwan, including sending warships and planes through the 160-kilometer waterway. (100 miles) wide that separates Taiwan and China.
“We will continue to fly, navigate and operate where international law permits, consistent with our long-standing commitment to freedom of navigation,” he said on a call with reporters. “And that includes carrying out standard air and sea transits across the Taiwan Strait in the coming weeks.”