Sat, Aug 12, 2017 - Page 6 News List

China denies Tokyo owns sea, says drills necessary

Reuters, BEIJING

The head of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force defended military maneuvers in the Sea of Japan, which South Korea calls the “East Sea,” saying the waters did not belong to Tokyo, after a Japanese defense review warned of increasing Chinese military activity there.

Japan says that China’s probing of its air defenses is part of a push to extend its military influence in the East China Sea and western Pacific, where Japan controls an island chain stretching 1,400km south toward Taiwan.

In an annual defense white paper released on Tuesday, Japan said the number of its jet scrambles against Chinese aircraft hit a record in the year to March.

“The Sea of Japan is not Japan’s sea,” PLA Air Force Commander Ma Xiaotian (馬嘯天) said on Thursday, in response to a question at a military event in the northeastern city of Changchun.

“We must carry out drills at sea. China’s air force cannot simply guard on land and not go out,” Ma said in a report broadcast by Hong Kong-based Phoenix Television, which was posted to the air force’s official microblog late the same day.

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