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Maritime Tensions Surge in Western Pacific Amid Drills and Provocations by Some of the World’s Largest Navies

Philippine coast guard personnel aboard a rigid hull boat speed past the Japanese coast guard ship Akitsushima during a maritime exercise with Japan and the U.S. in the South China Sea on June 6, 2023. TED ALJIBE / AFP

The South Korean Air Force scrambled fighter jets on Tuesday after two squadrons of Russian and Chinese military aircraft entered its air defense zone, the latest incursion across another country’s international boundary by rival militaries operating in very close proximity in the Western Pacific.

Japan also launched its fighter jets to track a pair of Russian bombers that had transited across the Sea of Japan to take part in joint exercises with China.

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