China accuses Japanese military jets of ‘dangerous’ tactics

Beijing, Oct 28 (IANS) China’s Defence Ministry has accused Japanese military aircraft of increasingly engaging in “dangerous” intercepts of Chinese military aircraft, and putting the safety of Chinese fliers at risk.

China and Japan have been locked in a territorial dispute over a group of uninhabited East China Sea islands, called the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

Both countries have been shadowing each other on and off near the islets. Japan reported earlier this month that it has scrambled its warplanes 407 times between April 1 and September 30 in reaction to increased Chinese military flights near Japanese airspace.

“Such high-frequency reconnaissance against China not only disturbs the routine training of the Chinese military but also undermines the security interests of China,” CNN quoted Wu Qian, spokesperson for China’s Ministry of National Defense as saying at a briefing.

“The aircraft of Japanese Air Self Defense Force switched on the fire control radars or even dropped an infrared countermeasure bomb during encounters with Chinese aircraft,” Wu said, calling those actions “unprofessional and dangerous.”

Chinese military flights near Japan were completely within international law and standard aviation practices. Japan’s disproportionate response risked accidents and relations, he added.

During the summer, China said two Japanese F-15 jets locked their fire control radars onto two Chinese Su-30 jets during a June 17 encounter over the East China Sea.

According to China’s Defence Ministry, when the Chinese jets manoeuvred to counter the Japanese move, the Japanese fighter fired their infrared countermeasures.

In late September, Japan sent up fighter jets after eight Chinese military planes crossed between Okinawa and the Miyako islands near Taiwan.

Japan’s Defence Ministry on Friday said its Self Defense Force follows international law when conducting intercepts, CNN reported.

“It has not taken any provocative actions against Chinese military planes nor endangered them as claimed by the spokesman of the Chinese Defence Ministry,” the ministry said in a statement.