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China to Japan: Stop Scrambling Your Jets When We Violate Your Airspace


Perversely, China accused Japan today of escalating tension in the East China Sea by scrambling fighter jets every time Chinese aircraft or ships violate Japan’s territory. Japan announced yesterday that it had sent its own planes to intercept Chinese aircraft a record 306 times in the year ending March 31, double the number of times in the previous year.

“We believe the Japanese side should not be sending out more aircraft but…find a way to appropriately manage and resolve the problem through dialogue, talks and consultations,” a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said today. A defense paper that China released this week also accused Japan of “making trouble.”

As the WSJ reports, 146 of Japan’s 306 scrambles were against Chinese planes that entered Japanese airspace between January and March. “Even today, China keeps on sending patrol ships into and near the territorial waters around the disputed islands.”

As long as this dispute drags on, there is a chance of a serious mistake leading to actual armed conflict between the world’s second- and third-largest economies.

[Japanese Air Force planes courtesy of Getty Images]

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  • Anthony

    Former regional hegemon flexing against rising regional hegemon – only now technology may be more comparable. Spillover will certainly redound beyond region.

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