Japan Fighter Jet Chases Chinese Plane Over Disputed Islands

Japan fighter jet chases Chinese plane over disputed islands (PressTV, Jan 7, 2014):

Japan has dispatched an F-15 fighter jet to intercept a Chinese plane flying near a chain of disputed islands claimed by both Beijing and Tokyo.

The Japanese Defense Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that its jet scrambled when the Chinese propeller plane was heading toward the Japanese-administered islands.

Earlier in the day, Tokyo said four Chinese surveillance ships had approached the islets in its territorial waters.

The islands, also claimed by China and Taiwan, are located about 300 kilometers from the Chinese coast.

This is the first such incident since China declared an air defense zone with military over-flights over a stretch of the East China Sea back in November 2013.

Beijing announced that foreign aircraft passing through the airspace, including passenger planes, will have to identify themselves to Chinese authorities.

The move was widely criticized by Japan, South Korea, the US and the Philippines.

In defiance of Beijing’s move, Japan and South Korea flew military aircraft through the zone in late November 2013, while Washington sent two unarmed bombers into the airspace. None of those aircraft informed Beijing.

The zone includes the skies over islands at the heart of a territorial dispute between Japan and China.

This comes while senior Chinese officials have repeatedly called on Washington not to take sides over the issue.

In late April, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tokyo would “expel by force” any Chinese individual landing on the islands, following an incident during which eight Chinese vessels entered the disputed waters.

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