Japan’s Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera denied China’s claims that a Japanese naval ship and air patrol plane caused a disturbance in their live military exercises in the western Pacific Ocean. Japan said that the vessels’ movements acted in line with international law and that China‘s protest was “unacceptable”.
China said on Thursday that they filed a formal complaint through diplomatic channels, calling the presence of the Japanese military ship and plane a “dangerous provocation.” They also suspect that they were gathering intelligence reports on the movements during their live ammunition military drill but Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun did not specify the location of the incident. Onodera stressed to reporters that there was no interference and that the exercises China was referring to were southeast of the Sakishima island chain, located south of the disputed Senkaku islands, known as Diaoyu in China. He also said it is but natural for Japan to be cautious at things like the military exercises, although he emphasized that those regular drills are not illegal. Japan is set for their own military exercises this November.
The sovereignty over the uninhabited but resource-rich islands has been the source of tensions between the East Asian neighbours, with both sides accusing each other of uncalled for provocation. Onodera said Tokyo already sent their statement to Beijing and that the two countries need to have clear communications to avoid drastic actions resulting from what may be misunderstandings of their intentions. “It’s important to set up a Japan-China hot line so suspicion and mistrust doesn’t arise between the two sides,” he said.
[ via Global Post ]