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Tension Rises in East China Sea

It seems that Japan and China are just destined to never get along. Japanese air force aircraft were recently spotted flying too close for comfort to Chinese air force planes. It is just the most recent incident of instigating tention by Japan according to the Chinese military.  The New York Times quoted Senior Col. Geng Yansheng who argued “For some time, Japan has engaged in close-up tailing, monitoring and interfering with Chinese vessels and aircraft, risking the safety of the vessels and aircraft.”

Contrarily, the Japanese Defense Ministry has pointed the finger at China’s air force. They reasoned that Chinese fighter jets breached the air space of two Japanese propeller-driven reconnaissance airplanes. The Ministry reported that they flew so close that one of the Japanese pilots tooks pictures of the missiles the fighter jets were carrying. Chinese authorities have been vigorously denying these claims.

China has also accused Japanese fighter jets of coming within a 100 feet of own of its own air force patrol planes. This they say, happened just this past Tuesday. According to the New York Times “two Japanese reconnaissance planes flew into China’s air defense identification zone, prompting Chinese fighter jets to follow the planes at about 500 feet” that same day. China reported that Japan has continued to ignore their air defense identification zone since the orders came down from Beijing last year.

Chinese officials believe that Japan is bent on ruining China’s military image, and is trying to concoct tension in the region. In a quote from the New York Times, Colonel Geng stated “The Chinese pilots’ behavior was professional and regular, and they exercised restraint. The actions of the Japanese pilots were dangerous and clearly of a provocative nature.”

In the end it comes down to the matter of “he said, she said.” The tension between the two nations in the East China Sea are nothing new. No doubt there will be more accusations in the weeks to follow, but neither country is really looking to fight a war right now. Or so it seems.



Photo: China’s Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea

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