News / Asia

Japan Scrambles Jets After Chinese Plane Approaches Contested Islands

Japanese Coast Guard Commandant Takashi Kitamura speaks during a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo December 13, 2012.
Japanese Coast Guard Commandant Takashi Kitamura speaks during a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo December 13, 2012.
VOA News
Japan scrambled eight F-15 fighter jets after a Chinese plane entered disputed airspace near contested islands in the East China Sea on Thursday, prompting a diplomatic dispute between the two Asian powers.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura says the jets were sent in response to a Chinese Oceanic Administration airplane that was spotted near the islands. He said Japan has lodged an official protest and summoned the Chinese ambassador in Tokyo.

"It is extremely deplorable that China's official airplane conducted an airspace invasion of Japan's territory today, on top of their intrusion of territorial waters for three days in a row, as of today, despite our repeated warnings."

A spokesperson for the Japanese prime minister's office confirmed to VOA that in addition to the F-15s, a E-2C "Hawkeye" observation aircraft was also scrambled from Naha, Okinawa.

An airplane belonging to China's state oceanic administration flies past about 15 km (9 miles) south of one of the disputed islets in this handout released by 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters-Japan Coast Guard, December 13, 2012.An airplane belonging to China's state oceanic administration flies past about 15 km (9 miles) south of one of the disputed islets in this handout released by 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters-Japan Coast Guard, December 13, 2012.
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An airplane belonging to China's state oceanic administration flies past about 15 km (9 miles) south of one of the disputed islets in this handout released by 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters-Japan Coast Guard, December 13, 2012.
An airplane belonging to China's state oceanic administration flies past about 15 km (9 miles) south of one of the disputed islets in this handout released by 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters-Japan Coast Guard, December 13, 2012.
The Japanese government described the incident as the first ever "intrusion" by a Chinese plane into what Japan considers its airspace. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said the plane's mission was "completely normal."

"The Diaoyu Islands and affiliated islands have been part of China's territory since antiquity," said Hong. "China's surveillance plane flying in airspace over the Diaoyu Islands is completely normal. China calls on Japan to halt illegal activities in waters around Diaoyu islands and airspace."

Sam Bateman, a maritime security expert at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, tells VOA that the incident should be viewed as a continuation of China's regular patrols in the area.

"I don't see it as a real escalation. I just see it as a demonstration of sovereignty," says Bateman. "It's understandable that both parties are going to engage in a bit of 'tit-for-tat,' you know fly close, patrol close to these islands, because that's the way you demonstrate your sovereignty claim."



Since Japan purchased the islands from a private landowner in September, China has sent regular patrol missions to the disputed waters, in what some analysts say is Beijing's attempt to establish the fact that it can come and go as its pleases.

The Japanese Coast Guard says four Chinese maritime surveillance vessels were seen near the Japan-administered islands earlier on Thursday.

The incident came as China marked the sensitive 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Nanjing Massacre, when Japanese soldiers entered China and embarked on a campaign that included mass rapes and killings of thousands of Chinese.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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by: logic
December 17, 2012 11:24 PM
If Japan start a conflict they will lose all the southern islands. All the US base in Japan, South Korea and Philippine are within China missile range. China can just sink all the amphibious ship before they land. Rumor F22 can be detected so B2 wouldn't fair any better. So let there be peace.


by: Redcliff from: Aus
December 17, 2012 12:28 AM
@ Remei from Canada

I forgot to add. 1958 is not that long ago. You might like to read my reply to Peter from cook regarding Vietnam Premier's admission of the Spratly Islands belong to China. This was made in in 1958. So your comments that all claims by China are historical nature were incorrect. If you still want more evidence of non historical nature to satisfy yourself please do not hesitate to ask and I will certainly provide more current evidence.


by: Negashabi from: Canada
December 16, 2012 5:02 PM
Remie, If there is some country lying about WWII, it is Japan definitely. Most Japanese are BLIND to facts and very BIAS. you must be brainwashed by Propaganda of Japan. One professor from University of Calgary went to Japan last year and talked with his Japanese friends. He was shocked that Japan education didn't teach your guys Japanese Fascist and invasion to China, Korea and other Asian countries in WWII (it is distorted by cheating). WWII histotry and Japan Fascists are well known to the World, it doesn't only belong to China, Taiwan and Korean and other Aisan countries. Japan map before 1971 also showed Diaoyu islands is part of China, even from the Japanese map used in WWII in China, also showed Diaoyu islands is NOT a part of Japan (it means Diaoyu islands is a part of China).



by: Remie from: Canada
December 16, 2012 10:02 AM
@ redcliff,
It seeems like China has so much proof, then what is stopping them from bringing evidence to the world? Surely they would win with ALLL these facts. But they want to deal with it separately, WHY?
Maybe their evidence is fake ,weak,etc. I see other countries bringing their facts to proof their claim but not China. All they do is say "ancient time".
You being chinese makes u blind to facts and very BIAS.

In Response

by: Redcliff from: Aus
December 16, 2012 3:48 PM
@ Remie from Canada

So if some one post a comments that have factual value and so happened that these evidence have positive leaning to Chinese is considered by you a Chinese that is blind to fact and very BIAS.
What sort of logic you are panning or should I said you are publicizing your bias attitude.


by: Redcliff from: Aus
December 15, 2012 9:04 PM
@ peter from cook

Another topic with regard to Paracel as you have brought up. The following are events took place which you might like to familiarized yourself.

Before 1970 Philippines had never referred their territories as including the Paracel (Xisha) in any of their legal Instruments. The Treaty of Peace signed between US and Spain in 1900 on its scope of Philippines Territory did not include Nansha and Xisha Islands and this was also confirmed in the Philippines Constitution of 1935 and Mutual Defense Treaty between the Philippines and the US in 1951.


by: Jacob from: United States of America
December 14, 2012 9:20 PM
Just because china is being a bully and is communist doesn't mean there wrong they have good evidence as Japan does too but in the end China will win since they have become an important roll in the worlds economy and has the second biggest military strength excluding if you count European union as a whole. USA is getting tired of going to war for other countries, we have lots of problems in the US right now that are more important than some ignorant Chinese and Japanese i really don't care who wins some politics in japan still worship war criminals explain that not saying the island is not there's but you really think of improving relationships with China you should show some respect and maybe they will too and stop denying the war crimes in WW2. China should learn too but who punch who first and that how life works you beat up Chinese in WW2 and now they beat up everyone since they don't justice has been served since WW2.


by: peter from: cook
December 14, 2012 8:10 PM
Sorry all, but paracel island and Spratly Islands are not disputed, it's obviously belong to Vietnam, all vietnam dynasties' and even chinese dynasties' Map also indicated two of them are belong to vietnam, we are small country, we are poor country, one more important thing is that we cannot demonstrate in our country, so friends in the world dont know the situation of that,
you and i all know there are petrol and seafood there, that's why china wants to occupy it, how they can deceive us, they are dangerous and bully all the nearby countries, as the patriots we will fight for that

In Response

by: Redcliff from: Aus
December 15, 2012 8:49 PM
@ peter from cook

Yes I agree with you that you and I all know there are petrol and seafood there but yours truly questioned the correctness of your claim that the Spartly Islands belong to Vietnam, all Vietnam Dynasties.
Please advise which Map and which Vietnam Dynasty that said this.
For your information the Spratly Islands were first discovered by China around 200 AD and 220AD Chinese monks had settled in the Island of Nansha(Spratly) and a monastery was built. By 789AD The Island Nansha was included into the Administraive Map of the Tang Dynasty and in 990AD Spratly Islands become part of the Northern Sond Area in Hainan. In 1121 AD the Yuan Dynasty(MOngol) control most of the Islands.

The ownership of these Island was also confirmed by the Vietnam premier Pham Van Dong of the Vietnamese Government on the 14th September 1958 in his notes to Zhou Enlai stated that Vietnam recognized and supports the Declaration of the Government of Peoples Republic of China on China territories of Nansha, Xisha, Zhongsha and Dongsha Island(Spratly Islands).
Even japan did not refute that these Islands belong to China.


by: hiro
December 14, 2012 7:24 PM
For a one party government, it may have been easy to rewrite the history; if you do it overseas, people remember.

Say if the China communists succeeded in invading Senkaku of Japan, Scarborough Reef of Philippines, Spratly Islands of Vietnam, what happened will stay on people's mind.

All the bacon will begiven only to high officials and their relatives, and Chinese
average citizen in these area or overseas have to live their life with people's hate and disrespect.
John, Chinese people know better way to live happy. They are the descendant of great Confucius.

In Response

by: Redcliff from: Aus
December 15, 2012 7:35 AM
@ Hiro

"...it may have been easy to rewrite the history, if you do it overseas people remember."

How very true. Japan had been rewriting its history text book of the atrocious deed it committed in the WWII. The current generation was not told or taught the truth of these barbaric deeds and the true reason why Japan invaded other Asian countries. If you do that people remember.

In Response

by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
December 15, 2012 2:14 AM
Hiro, tell me how the one party government rewrite the Postdam declaration and Cairo declaration?
And are you blind and dont see Japanese government still worship those class-a war criminals in a shrine!
What if German government worship Hitler in a church?


by: John from: Chicago
December 14, 2012 10:47 AM
From Postdam Declaration, 1945

"Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and such minor islands as we determine." As had been announced in the Cairo Declaration in 1943.


by: John from: Chicago
December 14, 2012 10:45 AM
From Cairo Declaration, 1943

"The Three Great Allies are fighting this war to restrain and punish the aggression of Japan. They covet no gain for themselves and have no thought of territorial expansion. It is their purpose that Japan shall be stripped of all the islands in the Pacific which she has seized or occupied since the beginning of the first World War in 1914, and that all the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese, such as Manchuria, Formosa, and The Pescadores, shall be restored to the Republic of China. Japan will also be expelled from all other territories which she has taken by violence and greed. The aforesaid three great powers, mindful of the enslavement of the people of Korea, are determined that in due course Korea shall become free and independent."

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