US bombers fly over South China Sea ahead of Trump, Xi meet

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Washington( CNN) Two US B-1 bombers flew over disputed water in the East and South China Seas on Thursday, conducting a joint military operation with Japanese fighter jets amid intensifying tensions with North Korea and souring relations with China.

The bombers were joined by two Japanese F-1 5 fighters and carried out a cooperative mission over the East China Sea — an region both Japan and China claim as their own.

While joint flights between the two allied nations have become increasingly routine, this mission marked the first time US B-1 bombers from the Pacific Command have carried out an operation of this kind with Japanese fighters at night, according to a statement from US Pacific Air Forces.

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