Japan says jet fighters conducted drills with US aircaft over East China Sea

US Marine Corps F-35B 'Lightning II' stealth fighters (bottom) assigned to the Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, flying alongside two US Air Force B-1B 'Lancer' bombers (top),  over waters near Kyushu, Japan on Aug 31, 2017.
US Marine Corps F-35B 'Lightning II' stealth fighters (bottom) assigned to the Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, flying alongside two US Air Force B-1B 'Lancer' bombers (top), over waters near Kyushu, Japan on Aug 31, 2017.PHOTO: EPA/JAPAN AIR SELF-DEFENSE FORCE

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japanese F-15 fighter jets on Saturday (Sept 9) conducted an air exercise with US B1-B bombers in the skies above the East China Sea, Japan's Air Self Defence Force (ASDF) said.

The joint drill comes as South Korea braces for a possible further missile test by North Korea as it marked its founding anniversary, just days after its sixth and largest nuclear test rattled global financial markets and further escalated tensions in the region.

The exercise involved two US Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers flying from Andersen Air Force Base on the US Pacific island territory of Guam, which were joined by two Japanese F-15 jet fighters.

On Aug 31, Japanese F-15 fighter jets also conducted an air exercise with US B1-B bombers and F-35 stealth fighters in skies south of the Korean peninsula, two days after North Korea launched a ballistic missile over northern Japan.