China Sends Out Fighters to Watch Japanese F-15s, Ministry Says

China dispatched two J-10 fighters to the East China Sea on Jan. 10 to monitor two Japanese F-15s that were trailing a Chinese patrol aircraft, the Ministry of Defense said on its website yesterday.

The Chinese aircraft was conducting patrol duties near the oil and gas fields east of Wenzhou, the ministry said in the statement. The Chinese jets also monitored a Japanese reconnaissance plane in the same airspace, it said.

The incident comes amid a dispute between China and Japan over territory in the East China Sea, with China asserting sovereignty over uninhabited islands that are administered by Japan. Japan’s purchase of the islands, known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese, from their private Japanese owner last year strained relations between the world’s second- and third-biggest economies.

China and Japan may stand at a turning point that leads to confrontation,” China’s state-run Global Times newspaper said in an editorial yesterday. “The resentment toward each other has come to the highest level since World War II. The Sino-Japanese relationship is looking dim.”

The “current difficulty” in relations between China and Japan are caused entirely by the Japanese side, Hong Lei, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, told a briefing in Beijing yesterday.

The Japanese Self Defense Force has increased surveillance on China and increased activities by fighter planes, “trailing and interfered with” Chinese planes conducting normal patrol and military patrol exercises, the defense ministry said in yesterday’s statement.

China will “resolutely defend the safety of its territorial air space and the rightful privileges under international law,” it said.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: William Bi in Beijing at +86-10-6649-7578 or wbi@bloomberg.net

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: William Bi in Beijing at wbi@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at phirschberg@bloomberg.net

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