The US military put on a show of force in China's backyard on Sept. 26, 2018, as a US B-52H Stratofortress heavy long-range bomber linked up with Japanese Air Self-Defense Force fighter jets in the contested East China Sea.

US bombers have been increasingly active in both the East and South China Sea recently following a pattern of behavior set in August 2018, when the US sent B-52 bombers through the disputed seas four times in total.

These flights come at a time of increased tension between Washington and Beijing over both economic and military matters.


The flight through the East China Sea was flown in support of Indo-Pacific Command's Continuous Bomber Presence, Pacific Air Forces said in a statement on Sept. 27, 2018.

A B-52H Stratofortress bomber and two JASDF F-15 fighter jets.

(PACAF photo)

Source: Pacific Air Forces

The B-52 bomber trained alongside 12 JASDF F-15s and four F-2s over the East China Sea and the Sea of Japan before it returned to Andersen Air Force Base on Guam.

A B-52H Stratofortress bomber and two JASDF F-15 fighter jets.

(PACAF photo)

Sept. 26, 2018's flight marks the third time in a week US B-52 bombers have flown over contested seas characterized by tension largely attributed to increased Chinese military activity.

A B-52H Stratofortress bomber and two JASDF F-15 fighter jets.

(PACAF photo)

B-52 bombers flew through the South China Sea once on Sept.23, 2018, and again on Sept. 25, 2018, showing off America's capabilities over tense tides. Beijing warned the US against "provocative" military behavior in response.

A U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress bomber takes off from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, for a routine training mission in the vicinity of the South China Sea and Indian Ocean, Sept. 23, 2018.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

Source: Business Insider and Reuters

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis says that these flights are only an issue because China made these seas global hot spots. "If it was 20 years ago and had they not militarized those features there it would have been just another bomber on its way to Diego Garcia or wherever," he explained on Sept. 26, 2018.

B-52H Stratofortress bomber taking off from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.