Japan, China trade claims over latest aerial provocation

 

by Reiji Yoshida and Mizuho Aoki

Jun 12, 2014

Tokyo and Beijing traded blame Thursday over the second close and potentially dangerous encounter in just over two weeks between Chinese SU-27 fighter jets and Japanese reconnaissance planes over the East China Sea.

 

The close encounter took place Wednesday where the air defense identification zones of China and Japan overlap due to their claims to the Senkaku Islands, a defense official told The Japan Times.

Senkaku Islands(Diaoyu Islands) Left:Uotsuri J...

Continue reading “Japan, China trade claims over latest aerial provocation”

Japan condemns China fishing curbs; vows to defend islands

Map of the South China Sea
Map of the South China Sea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Kiyoshi Takenaka

National Jan. 13, 2014 – 06:35AM JST

– require foreign fishing vessels to obtain approval to enter disputed waters in the South China Sea, which the local government says are under its jurisdiction

NARASHINO —

Japan on Sunday joined the United States in criticizing China’s new fishing restrictions in the South China Sea, saying the curbs, coupled with the launch last year of an air defense zone, has left the international community jittery. Continue reading “Japan condemns China fishing curbs; vows to defend islands”

China creates air defence zone over Japan-controlled islands as of 10.00am Saturday

Aircraft in the zone are expected to provide their flight plan, clearly mark their nationality, and maintain radio communication with Chinese authorities

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 November, 2013, 1:27pm

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A view from a Chinese surveillance aircraft shows the disputed Diaoyu Islands claimed by China and Japan. Photos: Reuters

Beijing on Saturday announced it was setting up an “air defence identification zone” over an area that includes islands controlled by Japan but claimed by China, in a move that could inflame the bitter territorial row.

Along with the creation of the zone in the East China Sea, the defence ministry released a set of aircraft identification rules that must be followed by all planes entering the area, under penalty of intervention by the military.

Aircraft are expected to provide their flight plan, clearly mark their nationality, and maintain two-way radio communication allowing them to “respond in a timely and accurate manner to the identification inquiries” from Chinese authorities.

Map of the air defence zone published by the Ministry of Defence on Saturday. Photo: SCMP Pictues

Continue reading “China creates air defence zone over Japan-controlled islands as of 10.00am Saturday”

Japan, Russia Cosy Up As China Dispute Simmers

Oct. 31, 2013 – 02:28PM
By AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, pictured, and Foreign Affairs Minister Fumio Kishida will meet with Russian counterparts Friday.

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, pictured, and Foreign Affairs Minister Fumio Kishida will meet with Russian counterparts Friday. (Toshifumi Kitamura / AFP)

TOKYO — Tokyo will play host to the foreign and defense ministers of Russia from Friday, the latest stage of a burgeoning relationship that represents a rare neighborly entente for Japan.

Sergei Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu will meet their Japanese counterparts Fumio Kishida and Itsunori Onodera in Tokyo in a so-called “2+2,” something that Japan has only ever done before with the United States and Australia.

The visit comes after four separate summit talks between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin over the past six months, an unusual frequency for such high-level exchanges.

In their one-on-one meeting Friday, Lavrov and Kishida are expected to discuss a decades-old territorial row that has prevented the two countries ever signing a peace treaty after World War II.

The following day, the 2+2 will touch on ways to strengthen security co-operation, a Japanese foreign ministry official said.

The meeting “is expected to have an indirect, but positive impact on future talks towards a peace treaty, by building trust between the countries,” the official said.

Despite an important commercial relationship, which includes a growing trade in fossil fuels, Tokyo and Moscow remain at odds over the sovereignty of islands north of the Japanese island of Hokkaido.

The islands, which Japan calls the Northern Territories, but Russia administers as the Southern Kurils, were occupied by Soviet troops in the dying days of World War II.

The small Japanese population was evicted and the USSR peopled the archipelago as part of a drive to consolidate control over its wild east. They remain under-developed, but harbor rich fishing reserves.

“We’ve seen President Putin’s enthusiasm towards improving ties with Japan, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that Russia is ready to make a compromise on the territorial issue,” the official said.

Relatively warm relations with Russia stand in marked contrast with Japan’s ties to China and South Korea.

Tokyo is embroiled in a bitter dispute with Beijing over the ownership of a chain of islands in the East China Sea which is largely being played out by cat and mouse games between coastguards from both sides and occasional invective.

The row took a sharp turn for the worse last week when Beijing said Tokyo’s reported plan to shoot down drones encroaching on its airspace would be “an act of war”.

Japan parried with accusations that China was endangering peace in the region.

A pair of sparsely populated islets that sit between Japan and the Korean peninsula are the focus of a separate squabble between Tokyo and Seoul.

While the disputes are nominally territorial, they are fanned by unresolved historical differences and growing nationalism.

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20131031/DEFREG03/310310014/Japan-Russia-Cosy-Up-China-Dispute-Simmers?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|p

Ships patrol Diaoyu Islands in advance of anniversary

China sends large coastguard flotilla to mark Japan’s purchase of disputed islands last year

    Wednesday, 11 September, 2013 [Updated: 10:00AM]
  • _tok520_38015161.jpg
Vessels from the China Maritime Surveillance and the Japan Coast Guard near the disputed Diaoyu Islands. Photo: Reuters

China and Japan entered into a fresh round of bitter exchanges over their territorial row in the East China Sea yesterday – one day ahead of the anniversary of Japan’s purchase of the disputed Diaoyu Islands.

Beijing sent seven coastguard ships to patrol around the islands, which are known as the Senkakus in Japan, prompting Tokyo to lodge a formal protest and raise the possibility of stationing Japanese government workers on the island.

The latest Chinese patrol was the 59th since last September, when Tokyo announced that it would buy several of the islands, China’s State Oceanic Administration said.

In response, Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki summoned China’s ambassador in Tokyo, Cheng Yonghua, to protest against the patrol. Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said the ministry was strengthening its surveillance of the islands.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said stationing government workers on the islands was an “option”..

In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei hit back at Tokyo’s claims, saying Japan has to “remedy mistakes” and China was “seriously concerned” about Japan’s plans.

“Japan has to bear all the consequences if it recklessly takes provocative moves,” Hong said.

The State Oceanic Administration gave detailed accounts of its law enforcement since last September. It said vessels had gone within 0.28 nautical miles of the islands during the patrols. Japanese vessels had come within 10 metres of Chinese ships.

President Xi Jinping told Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a brief encounter on the sidelines of a G20 summit in St Petersburg last week that Sino-Japanese ties faced “grave difficulties”.

A report by Kyodo, citing Japanese government sources, said Japan was exploring a formal meeting between the two leaders at next month’s Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Indonesia, but Tokyo was also planning to set up by 2015 a special military unit dedicated to “reclaiming islands”.

Da Zhigang, an expert in Japanese affairs at the Heilongjiang Academy of Social Sciences, said a quick improvement in relations is unlikely. “No one is sure if Abe is sincere or not,” he said.

 

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1307944/ships-patrol-diaoyu-islands-advance-anniversary

China warns Japan against stationing workers on disputed isles ” would not tolerate provocation “

National Sep. 11, 2013 – 06:55AM JST ( 45 )

TOKYO/BEIJING —

China on Tuesday said it would not tolerate provocation after Japan’s top government spokesman said the country might station government workers on disputed islands in the East China Sea to defend its sovereignty.

Relations between the world’s second- and third-biggest economies, have been strained over the uninhabited isles which Japan controls but both countries claim. The isles are known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.

A year ago on Wednesday, the Japanese government bought three of the isles from a private owner, inflaming anger in China where there were big anti-Japan protests over the purchase.

Aircraft and ships from the two countries have played cat-and mouse in the vicinity of the islands ever since, raising fears that an accidental encounter could spark conflict.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, speaking on the eve of the anniversary, said it was “extremely regrettable” that Chinese government ships had repeatedly entered what he descried as Japan’s territorial waters.

The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was making “resolute but calm responses to defend our territory, territorial waters and airspace decisively”, he said.

“Our country will never make a concession on the matter of sovereignty,” he said.

Asked if Japan might station government workers on the islands, Suga said: “That is one option”.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei expressed “serious concern” about his remarks.

“The Chinese government has an unshakeable resolve and determination to protect the country’s territorial sovereignty and will not tolerate any provocative acts of escalation over China’s sovereignty,” he told a daily news briefing.

“If the Japanese side recklessly makes provocative moves, it will have to accept the consequences.”

Relations between the neighbors have also been shadowed for years by what Beijing says has been Tokyo’s refusal to properly atone for wartime atrocities committed by Japanese soldiers in China between 1931 and 1945.

In the latest incident off the islands, seven Chinese patrol ships entered what Japan considers its territorial waters near them on Tuesday, Japan’s coast guard said.

Hong said it was a normal, routine mission.

On Monday, Japan scrambled fighter jets when it spotted what appeared to be an unmanned drone aircraft flying towards Japan over the East China Sea.

It was not clear what country the unidentified aircraft belonged to but Japan’s Foreign Ministry had made an inquiry about it with the Chinese side, Suga said.

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said on Monday that Japan would be on guard for the first anniversary of Japan’s purchase of the islands.

“September 11 was the day when the flare-up of tension between Japan and China was triggered. I think a firm posture is being called for,” Onodera said.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka in TOKYO and Ben Blanchard in BEIJING; Editing by Nick Macfie)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2013.

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/china-warns-japan-against-stationing-workers-on-disputed-isles

Japan could anger China by putting government workers on isles

A Japan Coast Guard boat (front) and vessel sail as Uotsuri island, one of the disputed islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, is pictured in the background, in the East China Sea August 18, 2013. REUTERS/Ruairidh Villar

A Japan Coast Guard boat (front) and vessel sail as Uotsuri island, one of the disputed islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, is pictured in the background, in the East China Sea August 18, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Ruairidh Villar

TOKYO |          Tue Sep 10, 2013 6:34am BST

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan might station government workers on disputed islands in the East China Sea to defend its sovereignty, the top government spokesman said on Tuesday, raising the possibility of action that would inevitably anger China.

Relations between Asia’s second- and third-biggest economies have been strained over the uninhabited isles which Japan controls but both countries claim. The isles are known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.

A year ago on Wednesday, the Japanese government bought three of the isles from a private owner, inflaming anger in China where there were big anti-Japan protests over the purchase.

Aircraft and ships from the two countries have played cat-and mouse in the vicinity of the islands ever since, raising fears that an accidental encounter could spark conflict.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, speaking on the eve of the sensitive anniversary, said it was “extremely regrettable” that Chinese government ships had repeatedly entered what he described as Japan’s territorial waters.

The Japanese government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was making “resolute but calm responses to defend our territory, territorial waters and airspace decisively”, he said.

“Our country will never make a concession on the matter of sovereignty,” he said.

Asked if Japan might station government workers on the islands, Suga said: “That is one option”.

In the latest incident off the islands, seven Chinese patrol ships entered what Japan considers its territorial waters near them on Tuesday, Japan’s coastguard said.

On Monday, Japan scrambled fighter jets when it spotted what appeared to be an unmanned drone aircraft flying toward Japan over the East China Sea.

It was not clear what country the unidentified aircraft belonged to but Japan’s Foreign Ministry had made an inquiry about it with the Chinese side, Suga said.

Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said on Monday that Japan would be on guard for the first anniversary of Japan’s purchase of the islands.

“September 11 was the day when the flare-up of tension between Japan and China was triggered. I think a firm posture is being called for,” Onodera said.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Robert Birsel)

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/09/10/uk-japan-china-idUKBRE98906O20130910?rpc=401&feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews&rpc=401

China-Japan Island Dispute Could Become Flashpoint

May. 4, 2013 – 11:15AM
By WENDELL MINNICK

 

TAIPEI — While North Korea has garnered attention as Asia’s top hotspot, experts worry that the real problem is between Beijing and Tokyo over the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, which China calls the Diaoyu Islands.

Over the past month, rhetoric has soared between new nationalistic leaders in China and Japan as each deploys hardware to the region.

China’s increased ship and air patrols to the islands have prompted an unprecedented response from Japan: Keep out or we will use force to keep you out. Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said, “Japan is determined to protect its land, water and air.”

And to help its key ally, America’s top military leaders have told Beijing that if the shooting starts, Washington is treaty- and duty-bound to back Tokyo.

That, in turn, has prompted China to declare the islands a “core interest” in a bid to force Tokyo and Washington to back down, a move that’s unlikely to work.

“I think the potential calculated escalation is high,” said Wallace “Chip” Gregson, former assistant defense secretary for Asian and Pacific security affairs under President Barack Obama. “China seems to feel it is in their interests to keep tensions high, and Japan’s tough response meets with political approval across the country. The potential for miscalculation is always there with so many ships and airplanes confronting each other.

“I think China takes US obligations seriously, and they are working to drive a wedge between the US and Japan. I don’t think they expected a strong response from Japan, but now that national prestige is involved in each country, they are stuck,” Gregson said.

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s reaffirmation of US sup-port for Japan came last week after Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a Japanese reporter April 26 that the “Diaoyu Islands are about sovereignty and territorial integrity. Of course, it’s China’s core interest.”

The “core interest” declaration rattled Tokyo and Washington. The phrase is usually reserved for sensitive Chinese territorial concerns. In March 2010, Chinese officials began declaring the South China Sea as a “core interest” on par with its claims over Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang.

Hua’s statement was deleted from the official transcript issued by China’s Foreign Ministry.

“It is on the tape,” said Bonnie Glaser, senior adviser for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “However, when the transcript was issued, that sentence was deleted. The transcript remains the official account. Obviously, someone believed it should not have been said.”

“China is cautious in using the term ‘core interest,’ ” said Su Xiaohui, strategic studies research fellow, China Institute of Inter­national Peace, Beijing. “The reason is that when we define something as a ‘core interest,’ it means that it is not negotiable and China will defend it with all our might.”

A Chinese Foreign Ministry source echoed Su’s comments by saying Hua’s comments were a “signal to the world that the Chinese government attaches more importance to this sovereignty issue and is willing to defend its sovereignty. Whatever it takes.”

Su said China’s definition is not important.

“The reality is that it is difficult for China to step back. It is not only a problem between China and Japan. It is related to the US position, the South China Sea issue, etc. If we failed in dealing with the problem appropriately, the spillover effect would be disastrous.”

China has been ramping up tensions near the islands for the past 16 months. The most recent incident occurred April 23 when eight Chinese marine surveillance ships entered the 12-nautical-mile ter­ritorial zone off the islands.

Hua’s statement was both “surprising” and “expected,” said Jingdong Yuan, a China security specialist at the Centre for International Security Studies, University of Sydney. There is a possibility China has a new policy regarding territorial disputes.

“China would keep the status quo if one challenges it; otherwise, it will now seek to set a new benchmark or redefine the status quo, as it has been doing with regard to Senkaku,” Jingdong said.

There were relatively few intrusions into the vicinity of the island group before September 2012; now it has become a matter of fact where China is “basically demonstrating its de facto, at the minimum, co-administration while ever more loudly claiming its sovereign rights to these islands,” Jingdong said.

Zhuang Jianzhong, vice director of the Center for National Strategy Studies, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, had a different take on the Hua comment. Zhuang said the Diaoyu Islands dispute is different from Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang.

“Though it touches upon sovereignty and territorial disputes, the importance of this issue in the sense of a core interest is less than the previous ones,” he said. China is willing to discuss the island dispute with Japan, whereas there is no room for negotiation on the “other three.”

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130504/DEFREG03/305040006/China-Japan-Island-Dispute-Could-Become-Flashpoint

N. Korean missile launchpad moved into firing position – report

Published time: April 11, 2013 01:38   Edited time: April 11, 2013 03:45                                                                            

AFP Photo / Ed Jones

AFP Photo / Ed Jones

A North Korean missile launcher has moved into the firing position with rockets facing skyward, Kyodo reports, citing a Japan defense official.

The Japanese government is on high alert, citing indications that Pyongyang might soon launch ballistic missiles at its island neighbor.
Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Thursday morning that so far Tokyo was responding by “gathering a variety of information … with a sense of tension,” according to Kyodo.

Several Patriot Advance Capability-3 missile interceptor units have been deployed in Japan over the last few days to defend key military units and the country’s capital city, Tokyo. One of the units was set up at the Defense Ministry’s headquarters in Ichigaya, in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward.

The Patriots’ deployment followed Japan’s deployment of Aegis destroyers equipped with SM-3 interceptor missiles.

Japan authorized its forces to shoot down anything fired at it from North Korea.

A Japan Self-Defence Forces soldier stands near units of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles at the Defence Ministry in Tokyo April 10, 2013. Japan has deployed ground-based PAC-3 interceptors, as well as Aegis radar-equipped destroyers carrying Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptors in response to North Korea's threats and actions, according to its government.(Reuters / Issei Kato)

A Japan Self-Defence Forces soldier stands near units of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles at the Defence Ministry in Tokyo April 10, 2013. Japan has deployed ground-based PAC-3 interceptors, as well as Aegis radar-equipped destroyers carrying Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptors in response to North Korea’s threats and actions, according to its government.(Reuters / Issei Kato)

The indication of the new North Korean readiness follows South Korean and US forces’ announcement of an upgrade of their surveillance alert status to the highest possible level before coming into a state of war.

It also comes amid revelations from South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, with a government source saying Pyongyang is preparing multiple launches of shorter-range Scud and Rodong missiles. “There are clear signs that the North could simultaneously fire off Musudan, Scud and Nodong missiles,” an anonymous military source was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

The military alert status is now at Watchcon 2, reflecting a perceived “vital threat” from North Korean missiles after the North warned of a ‘thermonuclear’ war and asked foreigners to leave South Korea.

To counter the threat, two Aegis destroyers with SPY-1 radar have been placed on standby by the South along the Korean Peninsula.

The South Korean military is also operating early warning aircraft Peace Eye and ground-based missile defense radar system Green Pine to counter a potential rocket launch from the north.

On Tuesday, the commander of US Pacific Command said that the US is ready capable of countering the missile threat.

http://rt.com/news/north-korea-rocket-launch-663/

Japan talk of warning shots heats up China dispute

By Eric Talmadge

Politics Jan. 22, 2013 – 12:40PM JST ( 5 )

TOKYO —

Japan says it may fire warning shots and take other measures to keep foreign aircraft from violating its airspace in the latest verbal blast between Tokyo and Beijing that raises concerns that a dispute over hotly contested islands could spin out of control.

Japanese officials made the comments after Chinese fighters tailed its warplanes near the islands recently. The incident is believed to be the first scrambling of Chinese fighters since the tensions began to rise last spring.

According to Chinese media, a pair of J-10 fighters was scrambled after Japanese F-15s began tailing a Chinese surveillance plane near the disputed islands in the East China Sea. China has complained the surveillance flight did not violate Japanese airspace and the F-15s were harassing it.

It was the first time the Chinese media has reported fighters being mobilized to respond to Japanese air force activity in the area and comes amid what Japan says is a rapid intensification of Chinese air force activity around the islands, where Japanese and Chinese coast guard ships have squared off for months.

Though there have been no outright clashes, the increased sea and air operations have fueled worries that the situation could spin out of control.

Such concerns have grown over official comments suggesting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his cabinet are considering the use of “tracer” fire as a means of responding to airspace incursions. Tracer rounds are designed to burn brightly to get the attention of a pilot who may have missed other warnings due to a radio malfunction, while also indicating that the aircraft firing them is prepared to take further action.

“Every country has procedures for how to deal with a violation of its territory that continues after multiple cautionary measures,” Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Wednesday when asked if tracer shots would be fired against intruding aircraft that refuse to change course. “We have response measures ready that are consistent with global standards.”

Onodera said the use of warning shots has long been provided for under Japan’s defense policies and is widely accepted under international rules of engagement. Japan’s air force has not actually resorted to them since 1987 — against a Soviet aircraft — and none were fired last week.

But Chinese and Japanese media have suggested Tokyo is publicly floating the possibility to test China’s reaction.

The escalation of tensions has worried the United States, with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton saying Friday that while the U.S. doesn’t take a position on who has sovereignty over the islands, it opposes “any unilateral actions that would seek to undermine Japanese administration.”

That brought a sharp retort from the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Sunday. The comments “ignore the facts” that the islands are China’s inherent territory, spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement that urged the U.S. to adopt “a responsible attitude.”

In Beijing last week, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said China is on “high alert” and suggested Japan is escalating the tensions over the islands, called the Diaoyu in China and the Senkaku in Japan. Taiwan also claims the small isles, which are uninhabited but may be surrounded by valuable underwater natural resources.

“Chinese planes and ships are exercising normal jurisdiction in the waters and airspace surrounding the Diaoyu Islands,” spokesman Hong Lei said. “We are opposed to the operations of Japan’s planes and ships, which violate our rights around Diaoyu. We are on high alert against this escalation.”

As is often the case, Chinese media quoted military academics with a much more fiery response.

“Japan’s desire to fire tracer warning shots as a way of frightening the Chinese is nothing but a joke that shows the stupidity, cruelty and failure to understand their own limitations,” Maj Gen Peng Guangqian of the Chinese Academy of Military Sciences was quoted as saying by the China News Service and other state media.

“Firing tracer bullets is a type of provocation; it’s firing the first shot,” he said. “Were Japan to dare to fire tracers, which is to say fire the first shot, then China wouldn’t stint on responding and not allow them to fire the second shot.”

Peng said Japan may have put out the report to generate discussion and gauge China’s response.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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