In­ci­dent with Ja­pan trig­gers con­cern

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By ZHANG ZHIHAO zhangzhi­hao@chi­

China is gravely con­cerned about Ja­pan’s in­ter­fer­ence with Chi­nese Air Force planes pass­ing through Miyako Strait, China’s De­fense Min­istry said.

It was the sec­ond ma­jor con­fronta­tion be­tween the two coun­tries’ air forces this year.

The first con­fronta­tion came in mid-June, when Ja­panese fighter jets used fire-con­trol radar to tar­get Chi­nese mil­i­tary planes in the East China Sea, the min­istry said in a state­ment in July.

On Saturday, two Ja­panese F-15 fighter jets closely ha­rassed and shot de­coy flares at Chi­nese Air Force planes that were pass­ing through Miyako Strait to con­duct an ex­er­cise in the west­ern Pa­cific Ocean, De­fense Min­istry spokesman Yang Yu­jun said in a news re­lease on Saturday.

“China’s ex­er­cise has been planned within this year’s Air Force train­ing rou­tine and does not tar­get any spe­cific coun­try or ob­jec­tive,” said Yang, who called Ja­pan’s re­ac­tion “dan­ger­ous and un­pro­fes­sional”.

“Miyako Strait is a uni­ver­sally ac­knowl­edged international flight pas­sage,” Yang said. The Chi­nese Air Force has ad­hered to international law and prac­tices while pass­ing through the strait, he added.

China urged Ja­pan to take ef­fec­tive mea­sures to pre­vent se­cu­rity is­sues and to keep re­gional se­cu­rity and the big pic­ture of Sino-Ja­panese re­la­tions in mind, Yang said.

Ja­pan’s De­fense Min­istry ac­knowl­edged in a state­ment that it had scram­bled jets to in­ter­cept Chi­nese planes, but it de­nied ha­rass­ing or fir­ing de­coy flares.

The Miyako Strait is one of the few international wa­ter­ways through which ships and air­craft can pass from the East China Sea to the west­ern Pa­cific. Chi­nese Air Force planes first flew through the strait in May last year.

Liang Fang, a pro­fes­sor at Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army Na­tional De­fense Univer­sity, said Ja­pan’s de­nial of in­ter­fer­ence is hyp­o­crit­i­cal, be­cause it has stepped up ha­rass­ment of the Chi­nese mil­i­tary since 2009, when a Chi­nese naval fleet passed through the Miyako Strait to train in the west­ern Pa­cific.

Miyako Strait is a uni­ver­sally ac­knowl­edged international flight pas­sage.” Yang Yu­jun, spokesman for China’s De­fense Min­istry

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