Japan: China Violated Our Airspace
Chinese plane approached disputed islands
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 13, 2012 8:53 AM CST
In this photo released by Japanese officials, a Chinese airplane flies above the islands Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012.   (AP Photo/Japan Coast Guard 11th Regional Coast Guard)
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(Newser) – Japan says a Chinese government plane violated its airspace by soaring too close to the disputed islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. Japan scrambled eight fighter jets and complained to Beijing in response, a Japanese spokesman says. It's the first time a Chinese government aircraft has intruded on Japanese airspace since records began in 1958, according to Japan's defense ministry.

The plane's intrusion comes the same day Chinese surveillance ships were reported in the vicinity, the spokesman said. China's foreign ministry says the flight path was "completely normal." "The Diaoyu islands and affiliated islands are part of China's inherent territory," says an official. "The Chinese side calls on Japan to halt all entries into water and airspace around the islands." The flight may have been a provocative effort in the continuing feud, or it may have been symbolic, the BBC notes: Seventy-five years ago today, Japan began killing tens of thousands of Chinese civilians in the Nanjing massacre.