The U.S. Air Force has announced that it will send its version of the advanced F-35 stealth fighter jet to Okinawa's Kadena Air Base next month in the first such deployment to the Asia-Pacific region.

The air force said in a statement Tuesday that it would send 12 F-35 fighters and approximately 300 airmen to the Kadena base in early November for a six-month rotational deployment.

The move, long anticipated, comes amid surging tensions on the Korean Peninsula over Pyongyang's ever-improving nuclear and missile programs and as China continues to flex its military muscle near disputed islands in the East China Sea.