The Japanese Air Self-Defense Force has reportedly scrambled its fighter jets on 25 September, after eight Chinese military aircraft flew near islands in the East China Sea.
The Chinese fighters and bombers flew between Okinawa’s main island and Miyako-jima island near Taiwan in a show of force, according to media sources.
The flights follow after Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada recently said in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies that the Japanese ‘Maritime Self-Defense Force plans to hold joint training cruises with the US Navy’.
Meanwhile, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Shen Jinke was cited by Xinhua News Agency as saying that the Chinese Air Force had sent more than 40 different types of aircraft, which flew via the Miyako Strait, to perform routine patrols and drills in the Western Pacific.
Bloomberg quoted Chinese Air Force spokesman Shen Jinke as saying that the aircraft including H-6K bombers, Su-30 fighters and air tankers also conducted surveillance, sudden assault and aerial refuelling exercises in the region.
Jinke further added: “The regular Western Pacific drills and air defence identification zone patrols are necessary to safeguard national sovereignty, the country’s security and maintain peaceful development.”
Japan Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that these aircraft did not enter the Japanese airspace and noted that it was the first time that the country saw Chinese fighter jets in the Miyako Strait.
Suga was quoted by BBC as saying Tokyo will "continue to devote every effort to vigilance and surveillance and rigorously enforce steps against intrusions into our airspace based on international law and the self-defence forces law."