Ja­panese F-15 tails Chi­nese jet at close dis­tance

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHANG YUNBI and ZHAO SHENGNAN in Bei­jing

China made a rare re­lease of video footage and pho­tos on Thurs­day to show the risky scene of Ja­panese air­craft stalk­ing Chi­nese planes at a stun­ningly close dis­tance above the East China Sea.

Ex­perts ob­served that the Ja­panese air­craft were car­ry­ing mis­siles to pose a blunt threat, and the dis­tance be­tween them was close enough to lead to a crash.

China’s Min­istry of Na­tional De­fense crit­i­cized Ja­pan’s ac­cu­sa­tion that a Chi­nese mil­i­tary air­craft had “ap­proached un­usu­ally close” to two Ja­panese war­planes, say­ing it’s “a thief who cries thief”.

Min­istry spokesman Geng Yan­sheng said that two Ja­panese F-15 fighter jets in­truded into China’s East China Sea Air De­fense Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Zone on Wed­nes­day to con­duct re­con­nais­sance and fol­low the reg­u­lar pa­trol of China’s Tu-154 plane.

On May 24, Ja­pan ac­cused China of send­ing air­craft to ap­proach Ja­panese planes at “an un­usu­ally close dis­tance”. But China said the two Ja­panese air­craft were dis­turb­ing an on­go­ing China-Rus­sia naval drill.

Geng crit­i­cized Ja­pan’s sec­ond ac­cu­sa­tion within a month as “ig­no­rance of the facts”.

What has been done by the Ja­panese pi­lots was dan­ger­ous and “ob­vi­ously provoca­tive”, Geng said.

The min­istry at­tached links of two video clips of the airspace con­fronta­tion on its web­site.

Zhang Junshe, a re­searcher at the People’s Lib­er­a­tion Army Naval Mil­i­tary Stud­ies Re­search In­sti­tute, said the video showed that the Ja­panese planes car­ried mis­siles and weapons, which is a sort of in­tim­i­da­tion and threat.

Li Jie, a se­nior pro­fes­sor at the Naval Mil­i­tary Stud­ies Re­search In­sti­tute of the People’s Lib­er­a­tion Army, said re­leas­ing the video footage is a good choice to help present the facts to the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.

The min­istry spokesman un­der­scored the de­tail that “the clos­est dis­tance was about 30 me­ters, which se­ri­ously af­fected the flight safety of the Chi­nese air­craft”.

Li said 30 me­ters is an ex­tremely dan­ger­ous dis­tance. “Be­cause both planes were fly­ing at high speeds, and the two planes would have crashed within a tenth of a sec­ond if one of the pi­lots makes a wrong move.”

Also on Wed­nes­day, a YS- 11EB elec­tronic in­tel­li­gence air­craft and an OP-3C sur­veil­lance plane from Ja­pan con­ducted re­con­nais­sance within the Chi­nese ADIZ and tailed Chi­nese planes. Con­tact the writ­ers at zhangyunbi@chi­nadaily.com. cn and zhaosheng­nan@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

KONG FEI / XIN­HUA

An im­age taken from a Chi­nese fighter jet shows an F-15 from the Ja­panese Self-De­fense Forces fly­ing close to the Chi­nese air force pa­trolling in its East China Sea Air De­fense Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Zone on Wed­nes­day.

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