China calls on Japan to lower tensions by stopping fighter plane scrambles
In a statement by the Chinese foreign ministry, Beijing is calling on Japan to stop sending its fighter planes against Chinese aircraft amidst heightened tensions in the territorial dispute between the two countries.
Japan, in numbers released by its own defense ministry, has revealed that it had scrambled its fighters twice more in the past year than the years before
“We all know that when it comes to the Diaoyu Islands issue Japan has been continuously taking provocative actions to raise tensions. This is the root cause of the present very tense situation over the islands,” Hua Chunying, spokesperson of the Chinese foreign ministry, said in a daily news briefing. She called out Japan to instead “show more sincerity and take practical steps to work hard with China to find a way to appropriately manage and resolve the problem through dialogue, talks and consultations. This would be best for both countries.” This comment is consistent with an earlier statement also made by the Chinese foreign ministry that it was Japan who had continuously “made trouble” in the islands known to Beijing as the Diaoyus, but are also claimed – and presently administered – by Japan as the Senkakus.
As revealed in a report by Japan’s Self-Defense Force (SDF), the number of times that Japan’s fighters were scrambled against Chinese planes nearly doubled to 306 in the year that ended in March 2013. That accounted for the increase in the overall number of scrambles from 425 to 567, the highest level in 22 years. Japan’s defense authorities however say that this is merely an indication that Chinese aircraft activity in the area has increased to very provocative levels – as Japan’s air defense forces are only responding to any activity that it considers is an intrusion to Japanese national airspace. This, according to them, is in fact a sign that shows China has been more provocative in its actions, while Japan has been aggressively protecting its territories.
Source: by John Hofilena in National, Politics, JDP News - 18 April 2013
Photo: The Japanese Self-Defense Force (JASDF) F-15J Eagle Fighter Aircraft (Photo by JASDF)