Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida has warned that ties with China are “significantly deteriorating”after Chinese vessels repeatedly entered disputed waters in the East China Sea. Mr. Kushida had called the Chinese ambassador to Japan to protest what the foreign minister called “incursions”by an increasingly expansionist and militarily aggressive China.
On Aug. 5 about 230 Chinese fishing boats and coast guard vessels went through islands claimed by both countries.
The Japan-controlled, uninhabited islands – known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China – are the source of a long-running dispute.
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China has strongly criticized Japan over a scramble of military aircraft from the two countries amid a dispute over islands in the East China Sea.
Japan is in an old dispute with China over ownership of a group of islands northeast of Taiwan, known as the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyus in China.
The Chinese Defense Ministry said that two Japanese fighter jets took “provocative actions” at a high speed near a pair of Chinese fighter jets patrolling the sea on June 17.
The Japanese planes used radar to “light up” the Chinese aircraft, the Chinese statement added. Japan has acknowledged that there was a scramble but has denied that there was any radar lock.
“The Japanese plane’s provocative actions caused an accident in the air, endangering the safety of personnel on both sides, and destroying the peace and stability in the region,” China’s Defense Ministry said.
Japan has accused China of escalating military activity in the East China Sea, saying that Japanese emergency scrambles to counter Chinese jets have almost doubled over the past three months.
Reuters reports that Japan “is worried that China is escalating its activity in the East China Sea in response to Tokyo’s pledge to support countries in Southeast Asia, including the Philippines and Vietnam, that oppose China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.”
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As Chinese expansionism fuels fears all over East Asia, Japan plans to buy new fighter jets worth a total as much as $40 billion. Japan is increasingly worried about Chinese aggression in the East China Sea, where there are a number of islands whose ownership the two nations dispute. It’s also worried about Chinese militarization of the South China Sea, which could threaten freedom of navigation in some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.
The Japan Times reported: “The program will dwarf most recent fighter jet deals in value, likely attracting global contractor interest. But analysts say Japan’s preference for an aircraft that can operate closely with the U.S. military, given close Washington-Tokyo ties, makes a non-U.S. option a long shot.”
Japan seeks a kind of warplane that will let it maintain air superiority over China. China’s warplanes still lag behind those used by the U.S. and its allies, but Beijing has been building its capability, fueling a more muscular security agenda under Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
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(June 13th, 2016) In the context of China’s repeated incursions into Japanese territorial waters in the East China Sea and attempts to dominate the South China Sea by military force, Japan, India and the United States will hold major trilateral naval exercises off the east coast of Okinawa Prefecture through June 17, the Japan Maritime Self Defense Forces said June 7.
The large-scale exercises are part of an annual event that since last year has included Japan as a permanent member.
The Japan Times reported that drills, “which will focus on anti-submarine warfare and air-defense training, are likely to bolster ties among the three allies.’’
China has been rapidly bolstering its submarine and other naval forces in the East China and South China Seas for the past several years, worrying other nations in the Asia/Pacific region.
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