Beijing’s military accused Tokyo of a “highly dangerous provocation” by interfering in Chinese live-fire drills in the Pacific last week, warning that Japanese lives could be at stake, state media reported yesterday.
Japanese ships and aircraft tailed Chinese navy vessels conducting the exercise in the western Pacific Ocean, the Chinese Ministry of Defense said, according to reports.
“The actions of the Japanese ships and planes not only interfered with our normal exercises, but also endangered the safe navigation of Chinese ships and planes, and might lead to misjudgment and accidental injuries,” the state-run China Daily quoted Chinese Ministry of Defense spokesman Yang Yujun (楊宇軍) as saying.
Yang made the comments at the ministry’s monthly press briefing, which foreign media are not permitted to attend.
According to China’s state-run Global Times, the People’s Liberation Army Navy was conducting drills in the western Pacific on Friday last week when a Japanese warship “broke into the drill zone” and remained in the area for three days.
An unspecified number of Japanese aircraft also entered the area several times, tailing and monitoring the Chinese vessels, the report said.
The ministry had lodged a “solemn representation” over the action, it said.
China gave advance warning through the International Maritime Organization on Oct. 23 of its plans to conduct the drills, the Global Times said.
Tokyo took issue with the complaint, with Japanese Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato saying: “Japan is conducting warning and surveillance activities in the surrounding waters appropriately.”
“It is not true that Japan interfered with military drills by Chinese naval vessels,” he said, adding Tokyo had already made its case to Beijing.