The Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) has reportedly scrambled its fighter jets to counter intrusions of Chinese air assets manoeuvring near its airspace.
According to a report by Reuters, Japan has been deploying its aircraft and warships for the past two weeks to monitor the Chinese military assets in the Pacific Ocean and in the airspace above the East China Sea.
The country has claimed the presence of a People’s Liberation Army – Navy’s (Plan) Type 001 aircraft carrier, named Liaoning, along with five other warships in the Pacific.
Citing a press release from the Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD), Reuters said that the Chinese ships were carrying out naval drills and flight operations primarily between the main Okinawa island and Miyakojima island, moving into the Western Pacific from the East China Sea.
In addition, the Japanese MoD further reported a Chinese Guizhou WZ-7 Soaring Dragon uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) in its airspace.
Another report by The Drive on 2 January claimed that the drone was observed manoeuvring above the East China Sea for two consecutive days, responding to which the JASDF scrambled its fighter jets.
This is the first time China has sent its high-altitude UAV in the region.
On 1 January, Japan Joint Staff Office also tweeted a map highlighting the trends of Chinese military aircraft.
The map showcased WZ-7 flying above the East China Sea, passing through the Miyako Strait.
The fight path showed the drone then flying over the Philippine Sea, towards Japan’s Sakishima Islands and finally reversing its movement towards Okinawa.
However, Japan’s MoD has not reported any incursions into its maritime zone or territorial airspace.
Recently, Taiwan reported an incursion of 71 Chinese fighters and drones in its air defence identification zone.