China Sends Fighter Jets and Bombers for Joint Exercise With Thailand

China’s air force announced it would send fighter jets and bombers for a joint exercise with the Thai military today.

In a statement posted on its official website, the Chinese Defense Ministry explained that the training would include air support, large- and small-scale troop deployments, and attacks on ground targets.

In recent months, China has stepped up its military activities in the Asia-Pacific region, alarming the United States and its Western allies as strategic and economic competition inflame tensions between the world’s two largest powers and economies.

The military exercise called “Falcon Strike” is set to take place at the Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base in the north of the country, near the border with neighboring Laos. Chinese officials also revealed that Thai fighter jets and early warning aircraft from both nations would participate.

Meanwhile, the US conducts combat exercises in Indonesia with allies Australia, Japan and Singapore in what is considered the largest iteration of the Super Garuda Shield exercises since they began 13 years ago.

The training also comes after China sent warships, missiles, and planes into the waters around Taiwan in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the autonomous island that Beijing claims as its own. The Chinese government described the move as threatening.

On Friday, US President Joe Biden’s senior adviser on the Indo-Pacific said the US would take decisive action to support Taiwan.

The United States government plans to send warships and planes through the 160-kilometer-wide waterway separating Taiwan and China, he added.

In a call with reporters, Mr. Campbell said his country’s forces would continue to “fly, sail and operate where international law allows, consistent with our longstanding commitment to freedom of navigation; and that includes conducting standard air and maritime transits through the Taiwan Strait in the next few weeks.”

The US has also sought support from the Thai government. In June, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visited the kingdom on a trip aimed at strengthening his country’s “unrivaled network of alliances and partnerships” in the region.