Chinese Su-30 fighter jets take off. Xinhua photo
The Japanese military said they decided to put their fighter jets up in the sky after spotting eight Chinese aircraft, including four bombers, two fighters and two surveillance planes. The military added that they later made a U-turn and flew back to the East China Sea without violating Japanese airspace.
Japanese defense officials said this is the first time that Chinese fighter jets have passed through the area, according to local media.
The People’s Liberation Army said it sent warplanes over the Western Pacific to practice surveillance, coordination and in-flight refueling. The drill was part of China’s effort to assert its control over parts of the East China Sea, which it designated its Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) two years ago.
ADIZ declaration means that China expects all aircraft traveling through its airspace to identify themselves with Beijing’s traffic regulators. Japan was among the nations, which condemned the move, which they saw as an attempt by China to boost its power in the Asia-Pacific region.
China’s relations with Japan have been marred by a longstanding dispute over a string of islets in the East China Sea, known in China as the Diaoyu and in Japan as the Senkaku.
Earlier this month, Chinese warplanes flew through the Bashi Channel that separates Taiwan and the Philippines, two other regional players unsettled by China’s growing military capabilities.
Tags: ADIZ, air defence identification zone, air tankers, Antony Wong Dong, assault, Bashi Channel, China, China's air force, China's military, Chinese air force, Chinese aircraft, Chinese military aircraft, Diaoyu, Diaoyu islands, early warning, East China Sea, freedom of navigation, H-6K bombers, Japan, Japan scrambled, Japanese air space, Japanese Defence Minister Tomomi Inada, Li Jie, military exercises, Miyako, Okinawa, People's Liberation Army, Philippines, Ryukyu Islands, scrambles, Senkaku, South China Sea, Su-30 fighters, Taiwan, U. S., Western Pacific, without violating Japanese airspace