Beijing: Chinese and Japanese fighter jets had a close encounter over the disputed waters in the East China Sea last month as two planes from each side came face to face several times and locked radars to fire weapons, China’s military said today. Both countries accused each other of pursuing “provocative and aggressive tactics” nearly three weeks after the incident.
Refuting Japan’s accusation, the Chinese Defence Ministry asked Tokyo to cease all provocations over the East China Sea Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) around the disputed islands called Sankakus by Japan and Diaoyus by China in the East China Sea. China has declared the ADIZ over the area in 2013. The declaration stoked concern at the time. Japan and US have not recognised it.
Reacting to reports from Japan quoting Japanese officials that Chinese jets took provocative actions, the Chinese defence ministry said Japan is providing distorted facts. “The remarks from the Japanese side are just distorting facts by calling white black and sowing discord,” a spokesperson from the Information Bureau of the Chinese Defence Ministry said.
He said two Chinese Su-30 fighter jets executing routine patrol over the East China Sea ADIZ on June 17 were approached by two JSDF F-15 fighter jets at high speed. They even used fire-control radars to lock on the Chinese fighter jets, he said.
“The Chinese fighter jets adopted decisive measures such as tactical manoeuvre and so forth to deal with Japanese fighter jets’ provocations and consequently, the two Japanese F-15 fighter jets flew away after firing infrared jamming shells,” he said. “The Japanese fighter jets’ provocative actions have the great potential to cause aerial accidents and serious harm and injury to all aircrews involved, and undermine regional peace and stability,” the Chinese statement said.
“The Chinese military has unswerving determination and will to maintain its territorial sovereignty and national security,” the spokesperson said and urged the Japanese side to cease all provocations.
Japan has denied that its fighter jets took any provocative actions during the encounter, saying they were scrambling against Chinese aircraft.
The latest tensions between China and Japan came as Beijing is bracing for an adverse verdict over its claims on the South China Sea (SCS) by UN arbitration panel. The tribunal constituted under UN Convention on Law of Seas (UNCLOS) arbitrating on a petition filed by Philippines is set to deliver its verdict on July 12. China which boycotted the tribunal said it will not honour the judgement saying that the panel has no jurisdiction
over the case.