Japanese, Chinese military aircraft engage in latest tit-for-tat moves in airspace above Western Pacific

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China and Japan have continued their recent tit-for-tat moves in the airspace above the Western Pacific, with aircraft from the two Asian giants on Saturday again engaging in an apparently tense encounter over the high seas between Okinawa’s main island and Miyako Island.

The Defense Ministry in Tokyo said the Air Self-Defense Force had scrambled fighter jets after six Chinese military aircraft flew through the strategically important Miyako Strait, bound for the Pacific, adding that there was no violation of Japanese airspace.

The ministry’s Joint Staff Office said that the six Chinese planes consisted of two Su-30 fighters, two H-6 bombers, one Tu-154 surveillance plane and one Y-8 surveillance plane. The Su-30 fighters crossed the strait and then made a U-turn to head toward the East China Sea while the surveillance planes and bombers headed toward the Bashi Channel, south of Taiwan.

China’s Defense Ministry slammed the scramble, saying that it had made “solemn representations” over the Japanese fighter jets, which it said harassed and shot decoy projectiles at Chinese air force planes, spokesman Yang Yujun said in a statement.

“The Miyako Strait is a universally acknowledged international flight passage,” Yang said. “The exercise had been planned within this year’s air force training routine. It does not target any specific country nor objective and it adheres to international law and practices.”

Japanese, Chinese military aircraft engage in latest tit-for-tat moves in airspace above Western Pacific

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