Japanese F-15 fighter jets flew over Chinese aircraft during the latter’s routine air patrol above the disputed waters, China’s defence ministry has said.
China took ‘necessary measures’ after several Japanese jets entered its East China Sea air defence identification zone (ADIZ) on Wednesday during a patrol to protect ‘order and security’, Reuters reported citing a Chinese Ministry of National Defence statement.
Chinese air force spokesman colonel Shen Jinke said: "Japanese F-15 fighter jets twice attempted to shadow Chinese patrol planes.
"China’s air force took reasonable, fair and restrained measures to respond to the threat."
When contacted by the news agency, Japan’s Defence Ministry said that it had no information on the incident.
The incident is the latest in a series of mid-air tensions involving the two Asian countries over the claims of disputed territory, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, in East China Sea.
In May, China accused Japan of carrying ‘dangerous actions’ in its air defence zone during maritime drills with Russia, and claimed that the intrusion ‘could have easily caused a misunderstanding and even led to a mid-air accident’.
The same month, the Japanese Defence Ministry had claimed that Chinese Su-27 fighters flew dangerously close to its OP-3C Orion and YS-11EB electronic intelligence aircraft above the waters where the countries’ air defence identification zones overlap.
In its 2014 defence white paper, Japan has warned that China’s ‘dangerous acts’ over territorial claims in the East China Sea might lead to ‘unintended consequences’ in the region.
"Especially in regard to conflicts over maritime interests, China has adopted so-called assertive measures, including attempts to alter the status quo by coercive measures based on China’s own assertion which is incompatible with the existing international law and order.
"Japan is deeply concerned about the establishment of ‘the East China Sea ADIZ’ which is a profoundly dangerous act that… escalates the situation and may cause unintended consequences in the region."
China had proclaimed the ADIZ covering disputed islands and regions in the East China Sea in November 2013 despite protests by Japan and the US.
Image: A Japan Air Self Defense Force F-15 fighter aircraft in flight. Photo: Public domain.