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.
x
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.

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
 Previous    
by: Wangchuk from: NYC
December 14, 2012 10:35 AM
Japan, Korea, Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan & Vietnam should all be wary of PRC hegemonism. The PRC wants to be the Middle Kingdom again & extend its territorial claims in Asia. The US should protect Japan and its allies from PRC territorial incursions & violations of their sovereignty.

by: Redcliff from: Aus
December 14, 2012 6:41 AM
What a waste of money, eight F15 and a E-2c Hawkeye to counter a one unarmed Chinese Oceanic Administrative Plane. This is really an over-killed exercise.

@ Samurai of Japan
Are you a parrot. You have been repeating this comment in other article of VOA. You should go back to your drawing board and create something more creative.

by: Hiro from: Japan
December 14, 2012 6:21 AM
The editor of this article forgot to print Okinawa of Japan, while HongKong of China is printed.

High authorities in China has been promoting expansion principle, saying "that island first, then Okinawa."
Bully fishing boats' attacks to our sea guards have got more and more often these years. Everytime we caught that "civilian" people, our government say please stop and feed them nicely and send them back 1st class. So it never stops; now it's the air.

Same things in Philipine, Vietnam.. just scary, we have to stop this.

by: Andy from: Texas
December 14, 2012 12:38 AM
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.", Edmund Burke. It is now the time for someone to stand up against China's bullying all around South East Asia. For thousand years, China is a country which is greedy for territory. Its history is the history of invasion and enslaving other countries. Japan's uprising and conquering in WWII is nothing compared to that. Plus, it is totally different now from the Japan in WWII. A peaceful, democratic, creative and productive, humble country, unlike China, an aggressive, communist country which imititates and spies on other country's hardworking research, manipulates their own currency for exporting leverage and yet always boastful about itself. Do all the disputed islands in Japan and Vietnam sea belong to China? Maybe, one day, China will claim Hawaii its island!
In Response

by: Redcliff from: Aus
December 15, 2012 7:25 AM
@ Andy from Texas

"China is a Country which is greedy for territory. Its history is the history of invasion and enslaving other countries"

From which text book did you study your history lesson room? These facts were far from the truth.
China has never enslaved any countries through history.
You must have mixed up your facts with Japan which invaded China and other Asian countries in the WWII. Japan committed atrocious deed to the Asian people and their allies(the US, British and Australian). Japan killed, raped and beheaded prisoner of war and civilians during WWII. It was US that stopped them by dropping a couple of Atomic bombs in Japan which end the war and thus the suffering of the Asian people.

by: Sam Ghalyoun from: USA
December 13, 2012 8:07 PM
Japan owns the island, and China should stop incursion, the world backs Japan to the maximum.
In case of stealing, China should pull out of Eastern Turkstan, and Tibet first before they speak of stealing.
Japan has nothing to fear from China, we are wtth them all the way.

by: John from: chicago
December 13, 2012 5:09 PM
Japan's territories were clearly defined in the WWII documents, the four big island and nearby islands. Japan lost Taiwan and other islands near Taiwan seized illegally in the past. Now Japan acts like thief, it claims it legally possess the island it steals.

by: Wake Up from: canada
December 13, 2012 3:52 PM
All I see from a free country is how greedy China is. They love to cry about Japans past but yet they do worst. Aren't you suppose to learn from past lesson, to make a better future?

by: Anonymous
December 13, 2012 11:30 AM
Remember the last time Japan went around claiming islands that didn't belong to them? Oh right that was called World War 2...and that whole thing turned out really well for them.

by: Samurai from: Japan
December 13, 2012 10:22 AM
China is always posing problems in the world. Its patrol ships also invading Japanese territorial waters every day. What china is doing is just like what a gangster does against a pedestrian---the gangster threatens the pedestrian and demands money or robs him of money. China still cannot understand that its lawless behavior only enables Japan to justify putting a beating on Chinese in order to teach Chinese ethics and manners.
In Response

by: Anonymous
December 13, 2012 11:03 AM
Japs want to invade the world ,and it really did in the history.The world should give this acquisitive country a lesson about how to be a respectful nation .

by: Anonymous
December 13, 2012 8:43 AM
To be honest, this all seems rather straight forward. Japan legally bought UNINHABITED islands from their PRIVATE owner, and now China is trying to make a land grab just as they are with several other countries at the moment. The worst part is, I'm sure the people of China have no access to any different viewpoint on the internet, as any undesirable information is blocked by the great firewall of China. If so, it is truly sad to see people get so upset over something they are not able to see the whole picture of due to government censorship.
In Response

by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
December 15, 2012 2:24 AM
really? What about Taiwanese? they dont have access to different viewpoint on the internet? why Taiwanese and Hongkongers also landed on Diaoyu island and claim it?
In Response

by: Anonymous from: Herndon
December 13, 2012 10:29 AM
All chinese high ranking politician are all uneducated. They just don't know what their country looks like on a world map.
In Response

by: Anonymous
December 13, 2012 10:17 AM
It is straight forward if you look at it from only one side's perspective.
Comments page of 2
 Previous    

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs