The maritime region of the South China Sea is a subject of dispute between Japan and China, with Tokyo administering the area of the Senkaku Islands, but Beijing and Taiwan - as the two share rising tensions - also claiming the territory.
The United States and Japan have been conducting joint military drills for a possible conflict scenario with China over Taiwan, The Financial Times reported, citing military officials.
According to six unnamed people cited in the report, American and Japanese military officials started "serious planning" for a possible conflict during the final year of Donald Trump's presidency. Alongside the planning, Washington and Tokyo reportedly conducted "top-secret tabletop war games and joint exercises in the South China and East China seas".
Several officials cited by FT said that the joint exercises in the South China Sea between the allies had been couched as "disaster relief training", as more drills were held in the area around the Senkaku Islands to prepare for a conflict with Beijing over Taiwan, located some 350 kilometres to the west.