2014年06月14日

China rebuts Japanese buzzing claims, fires back with own accusations

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The Chinese Ministry of National Defense released an image of a JASDF F-15J that it said had flown within 30 m of a PLAAF Tu-154 on 12 June. Source: Chinese Ministry of National Defense

China rebuts Japanese buzzing claims, fires back with own accusations

Kosuke Takahashi, Tokyo and James Hardy, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

12 June 2014

The Chinese Ministry of National Defense released an image of a JASDF F-15J that it said had flown within 30 m of a PLAAF Tu-154 on 11 June. Source: Chinese Ministry of National Defense
China's Ministry of National Defence (MND) on 12 June rejected Japanese claims that two People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Su-27 'Flanker' fighter aircraft had flown close to Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) aircraft over the East China Sea a day earlier.

The MND also asserted that Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) Boeing-Mitsubishi F-15J fighters had flown in a "dangerous and provocative" manner to within 30 m of a PLAAF Tupolev Tu-154 surveillance aircraft "from 10:17 to 10:28" local time on 11 June.

The MND published two videos on its website showing the F-15J flights and added in a statement that Japan was guilty of "hyping up" the "close encounter" between military aircraft over the East China Sea and for "playing up the fallacy of the so-called '[Chinese] military threat.'"

The statement added: "This is another groundless accusation [by] Japan to deceive the international community, smear the images of China and China['s] military and create regional tension ... The bad practices that Japan has done totally ignore the facts and call white black. Just as the Chinese saying goes that the villain sues his victim before he himself is prosecuted."

The statement admitted that China had dispatched two Su-27-derived Shenyang J-11 fighter aircraft to identify and verify a JASDF YS-11EB electronic intelligence aircraft and a Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Kawasaki OP-3C reconnaissance aircraft on 11 June. However, it said the J-11s followed the Japanese aircraft at "a distance [of] more than 150 m" in contrast to Japan's claim that the J-11s flew as close as 30 m to the YS-11EB.

"The Chinese pilots' operations are professional and standard with restraint. What Japanese pilots have done is dangerous and provocative," the statement added.

Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera denied China's claims. "I watched the Chinese videos and China's claims are not true," Onodera told reporters. "The JSDF aircraft were conducting stable scrambles by maintaining a certain distance."

"I would like China to behave and respond like a major power," he added.

COMMENT
It is unusual for China to release videos of military operations but the statement that accompanied it explains why the MND felt compelled to act.

By repeatedly accusing China of 'coercion' and 'destabilisation' and publicising its claims with photographs, Japan has managed to claim the moral high ground regarding military behaviour between the two countries in the international commons.

The recent confrontations also reinforce Japanese and US claims that China's assertion of an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) in November 2013 was another attempt to change 'the status quo'. It is certainly true that in the past Japan was the only country to patrol this part of the world with fast jets, using them to assert its own ADIZ and to monitor flights by Russian, Taiwanese, Chinese and North Korean aircraft around its islands.

For the moment the war of words between Tokyo and China seems unlikely to dissipate and could escalate to more serious confrontations if either side lost an aircraft in one of these incidents. If that were to occur, the US government would come under great scrutiny and would be expected to fully support its ally partner.

Related articles:

Continued posturing by China in East and South China seas increases likelihood of inadvertant incident leading to escalation
Shangri-La Dialogue: China condemns US, Japan for 'provocative' remarks

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posted by Kosuke at 14:57| Comment(0) | Jane's Defence Weekly