ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam (AP)-Fighter jets from the United States and key allies Japan and Australia are taking to the skies over the western Pacific in the combat phase of annual Cope North military exercises.
The drills-taking place around the U.S. territory of Guam-have gained importance in recent years as countries in the region respond to the rise of China and other potential threats.
They are aimed at preparing air forces of the U.S., Japan and Australia to fight together in a military crisis. They also remind Beijing that America's regional alliances are strong, though officers leading the maneuvers say they are not looking to bait the Chinese military.
U.S. officials say they believe more allies, particularly New Zealand and the Philippines, will join the exercises soon.