The People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) has begun a large-scale military exercise in the central province of Henan and eastern coastal province of Shandong.

The five-day exercise, code-named Vanguard-2010, will be an important part of annual joint military exercises between different military commands.

It will involve more than 12,000 soldiers, fighter jets, spy planes and helicopters, and will also take place at night, according to Xinhua News Agency.

China will carry out the exercise amid increased diplomatic and military tensions with Washington, following its opposition to joint US and South Korean drills in the Yellow Sea in July 2010.