China summons Japan official over jet dispute

Governments trade accusations over movement of each other's military jets close to the disputed east China Sea.

    Both China and Japan claim a series of islands in the East China Sea [File: REUTERS]
    Both China and Japan claim a series of islands in the East China Sea [File: REUTERS]

    China has summoned Japan's defence attache to lodge a protest after the two countries traded accusations over the conduct of military jets above disputed waters, the defence ministry said.

    Tokyo has "persistently taken it upon itself to stir up trouble, often irresponsibly inciting deception and making
    malicious attacks on the Chinese side," China's defence ministry said in a statement on its website on Sunday.

    The ministry called on Tokyo to "immediately correct the error". 

    Tensions flared between Asia's two largest economies last week, when each country accused the other of flying military
    aircraft too close to its own jets.

    "The Japanese side ignores reality and has flipped right and wrong, making groundless accusations," the Chinese defence ministry said.

    'Abnormally close'

    Tokyo lodged a protest on Wednesday, when Japan said Chinese fighter jets flew "abnormally close" to Japanese military aircraft over the East China Sea, a charge Beijing rejected.

    On Thursday, China said two Japanese F-15 planes followed a Chinese Tu-154 aircraft, coming as close as 30 metres,
    "seriously affecting China's flight safety".

    It posted a video allegedly showing the incident on the defence ministry website, but Japanese officials said China's assertion was not true.

    The tit-for-tat accusations and denials are part of a long-running territorial dispute between the two countries.

    They follow a similar incident on May 24, when Japan said Chinese aircraft came within a few dozen metres of its warplanes.

    Both sides claim a string of Japanese-administered islands in the East China Sea, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

    Beijing declared an air defence zone covering most of the East China Sea last year, sparking protests from Japan and the United States.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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