Naval vessels from Japan, the U.S., India and the Philippines have sailed together through the disputed South China Sea in a nearly weeklong multilateral drill amid tensions with China over the strategic waterway.

The Maritime Self-Defense Force's Izumo — Japan's largest flat-topped helicopter carrier — and the destroyer Murasame joined warships from the other three nations, performing formation exercises, communication drills and passenger transfers from May 2 through Wednesday. The four navies also conducted a leadership exchange aboard the Izumo, the MSDF and U.S. Navy said in separate statements.

The joint military drills come days after the U.S. Navy sent two warships near two Chinese-held man-made islands in the South China Sea's Spratly island chain, prompting an angry reaction from China.