Japan’s Defense Ministry on Sunday reported that two Chinese H-6 bombers were spotted flying around the East China Sea to the Pacific Ocean. Even though the aircraft did not violate Japanese airspace, Air Self-Defense Force jets scrambled the fighter aircraft just the same, after the planes were also spotted overflying waters near the Okinawa islands.
The ministry confirmed that the Chinese bombardment aircraft passed between the Okinawa chain of islands and the Miyako islands but the planes then immediately headed back to China. The Japanese Coast Guard and Air SDF are on heightened alert as the anniversary of Japan’s purchase of several of the Senkaku islets approaches. It was this move that prompted the resumption of tense relations between Tokyo and Beijing, as China also claims sovereignty over the islands, known as Diaoyu to them. Japan has expressed concern the past few months about the increased Chinese military presence in the area. Just last July, an early warning plane was scrambled by Japanese fighter jets when it flew over the Okinawa islands, which houses the US military forces in the country. According to the ministry, it was the first time that any Chinese aircraft had flown in the airspace.
Full article: Japanese Self-Defense Force jets scramble Chinese bombers (Japan Daily Press)