[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific

Japan may release proof of China 'radar lock'

Defence minister says country has evidence of claim that Chinese ship locked weapons-targeting radar on Japanese vessel.
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2013 08:38
Relations have soured over Japanese-controlled islands known to Tokyo as Senkaku and to Beijing as Diaoyu [Reuters]

Japan might disclose evidence to bolster its claim that a Chinese frigate locked its weapon-targeting radar on a Japanese ship, after China rejected the charge, officials say.

The incident, which Japan said happened last week, marked the first time the two nations' navies have locked horns in a territorial dispute that has some commentators warning about possible armed conflict.

The neighbours, also the world's second and third-largest economies, have seen ties sour over uninhabited Japanese-controlled islands in the East China Sea known as Senkaku in Tokyo and Diaoyu by Beijing, which claims them.

"The government is considering the extent of what can be disclosed," Itsunori Onodera, Japan's defence minister, said on a television programme on Saturday.

Onodera also proposed setting up a military hotline between the two countries, "so that we would be able to communicate swiftly when this kind of incident happens."

His comments came a day after Shinzo Abe, prime minister, demanded that China apologise and admit the incident had happened.

Japan also charges that a Chinese frigate's radar locked onto a helicopter last month, a procedure known as "painting" which is a precursor to firing modern weaponry.

On both January 19 and January 30, China's defence ministry said in a statement sent to the AFP news agency the Chinese ship-board radar maintained normal operations and "fire-control radar was not used".

'Extremely regrettable'

Japan hit back, with Fumio Kishida, foreign minister, saying he "cannot accept" the explanation and Abe demanding an apology from China.

Abe described on Thursday the radar incident as "extremely regrettable", "dangerous" and "provocative", but also said that dialogue must remain an option.

China, for its part, has accused Japan of hyping the "China threat" in a bid to manipulate world public opinion against its giant neighbour.

"The Japanese side's remarks were against the facts," the defence ministry said in a statement.

"Japan unilaterally made public untrue information to the media and senior Japanese government officials made irresponsible remarks that hyped up the so-called 'China threat'," the ministry said.

A spokeswoman for China's foreign ministry said later that "Japan's remarks are completely making something out of nothing".

339

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
UNHCR says hundreds of people trapped in Yaloke town risk death if they are not evacuated to safety urgently.
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Featured
Long-standing dispute over Christian use of the word 'Allah' raises concerns about a very un-Merry Christmas.
The threat posed by ISIL has prompted thousands of young Kurds to join the PKK.
Baja California - with its own grim history of disappeared people - finds a voice in the fight against violence.
Russian feminist rockers fight system holding 700,000 - the world's largest per capita prison population after the US.
Weeks of growing protests against Muslims continue in Dresden with 15,000 hitting the streets last Monday.