Japan and China yesterday accused each other’s air forces of dangerous behavior over the East China Sea, with Japan saying Chinese aircraft came within a few dozen meters of its warplanes.
Japan’s defense minister accused Beijing of going “over the top” in its approach to disputed territory.
China’s defense ministry said Japanese planes had carried out “dangerous” actions during Chinese joint maritime exercises with Russia.
Tensions have been running high between China and its neighbors over Beijing’s assertive stance on claiming land and sea territory.
The Japanese Ministry of Defense said Chinese SU-27 fighters on Saturday came as close as 50m to a Japanese OP-3C surveillance plane near disputed islands, which Taiwan also claims, and within 30m of a YS-11EB electronic intelligence aircraft.
“Closing in while flying normally over the high seas is impossible,” Japanese Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera told reporters in comments broadcast on TV Asahi. “This is a close encounter that is outright over the top.”
Onodera said Japan conveyed its concerns to the Chinese side through diplomatic channels. He also said the Chinese planes were carrying missiles.
A ministry official said it was the closest Chinese warplanes had ever come to Japan Self-Defense Force aircraft.
The Chinese Ministry of Defense said its jets were scrambled in the East China Sea on Saturday after Japanese aircraft entered its air defense zone during maritime exercises with Russia.
The ministry said the Japanese aircraft had entered the zone despite “no fly” notices issued ahead of the exercises. China declared its air defense identification zone last year, despite protests by Japan and the US.
“Japanese military planes intruded on the exercise’s airspace without permission and carried out dangerous actions in a serious violation of international laws and standards, which could have easily caused a misunderstanding and even led to a mid-air accident,” the statement said.
China had proposed urgent talks, it said, and demanded that Japan “respect the lawful rights of China’s and Russia’s navies ... and stop all reconnaissance and interference activities. Otherwise, Japan will bear any and all consequences from this.”
SURPRISE GUEST: Media reports identified the visitor as Admiral Michael Studeman, director of the J2, which oversees intelligence at the US military’s Indo-Pacific Command A two-star US Navy admiral overseeing US military intelligence in the Asia-Pacific region has made an unannounced visit to Taiwan, two sources told Reuters on Sunday. The sources, who include a Taiwanese official familiar with the situation, said the official was Rear Admiral Michael Studeman. They were speaking on condition of anonymity. After initially saying on Sunday night that it had no comment about the report, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it welcomed the visit of an “unidentified US official,” but declined to give more details because the trip “has not been made public.” Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵) yesterday
AUTUMN STRUGGLE: The KMT and TPP set up stages on the rally’s sidelines, while Want Want boss Tsai Eng-meng said the DPP was curtailing freedom of speech Tens of thousands of people in Taipei yesterday took part in the “Autumn Struggle” (秋鬥) — an annual protest march by labor groups — but with this year’s focus on rejecting the government’s plan to allow imports of US pork containing ractopamine residue. “Against poisonous pork, against double standards, against a party-state,” the protesters, mostly wearing black, chanted in front of the rally’s main stage on Ketagalan Boulevard at about noon, before a parade set off at 2pm. Autumn Struggle spokesperson Lee Chien-cheng (李建誠) said this year’s march was divided into three teams, with the first team urging food safety and labor
DEFENSE: The construction of indigenous submarines will be a testament to the nation’s commitment to safeguard its sovereignty, President Tsai Ing-wen said President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday presided over a ceremony to mark the start of construction of the nation’s first indigenous submarine at state-run shipbuilder CSBC Corp’s (台灣國際造船) shipyard in Kaohsiung. “This submarine is an important part of allowing our navy to develop asymmetric warfare and to intimidate and block enemy ships from surrounding Taiwan’s main island,” Tsai said. “With the construction of the submarine to its future commission, we will certainly let the world know our persistence in safeguarding our sovereignty.” Tsai has made boosting the nation’s indigenous defense capacity a central pillar of her defense policy. She recently relaunched the
ESPIONAGE CHARGE: A TAO spokesperson said that the rights of Shih Cheng-ping were ‘fully safeguarded’ during the hearing, which handed him four years in prison China sentenced Shih Cheng-ping (施正屏), a former National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) professor, to four years in jail for espionage, officials said yesterday. The ruling came a month after Shih made a televised “confession” on state media. Shih, who is also a former chief economist for Chinese conglomerate Huaxia Group (華夏集團), was found guilty by a Chinese court on Tuesday, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) told a news briefing. Shih — who vanished after traveling to China in August 2018 — was among Taiwanese who China Central Television (CCTV) last month showed confessing to spying. CCTV often broadcasts suspects admitting to crimes, even