Japan: China Violated Our Airspace

Chinese plane approached disputed islands

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 13, 2012 8:53 AM CST

(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.

In this photo released by Japanese officials, a Chinese airplane flies above the islands Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012.
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)
A Japan Coast Guard ship patrols around disputed islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, in the East China Sea, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012.
A Japan Coast Guard ship patrols around disputed islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, in the East China Sea, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012.   (AP Photo/Kyodo News, File)
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