The above chart highlights the high number of military and surveillance flights China has conducted around Japan’s sovereign territory in recent years. Japan’s Defence White Paper 2016 covers the subject extensively. You can see the number of scrambles Japanese Defence Force fighters have had to make in recent years to intercept them below. It’s exponential.
China has no doubts it will be the most powerful military force in the Pacific.
In the case of the Chinese PLAAF flying an H-6 bomber along the separation line between China and Taiwan, this is more to do with testing Trump’s reaction than picking a fight. China has had carte blanche the last 8 years. They are checking whether Trump will yield or stand up to them. It is not a prelude to war but a test of wills.
Russia flies Tu-95 Bear bombers off the U.K. coast regularly to test the reaction times of the RAF Eurofighter and Tornado squadrons. Tu-95s also fly along the entire coast of Japanese shores too. See below.
While the press beat up stories that China and Trump are headed for a nuclear exchange on his first day in office it is best viewed it as a test. The Chinese are metaphorically flying surveillance planes around the Oval Office to test Trump’s reactions. At the same time he’s testing their resolve.