China has sent several warplanes on a long-range drill to the Sea of Japan, prompting South Korea to scramble fighter jets in response.

Chinese air force spokesman Shen Jinke said the air force dispatched bombers, fighters and reconnaissance planes through the Tsushima Strait to "test its ocean combat ability."

Shen said in a statement that it was the first time the Chinese air force has flown through the strait that lies between South Korea and Japan and leads to the Sea of Japan.

Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff said five Chinese warplanes entered South Korea's air defense identification zone.

Self-ruled Taiwan's military says China's air force held a separate drill Monday morning through the Bashi Channel separating Taiwan from the Philippines.