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China and Japan Trade Barbs Over ‘Shameless’ Fighter Buzz

A Japanese F-15J allegedly buzzing a Chinese Tu-154 on Wednesday.

A Japanese F-15J allegedly buzzing a Chinese Tu-154 on Wednesday.

China has asked Japan to stop “provocative actions and words,” following a Wednesday encounter over the East China Sea when a Japanese Self Defense Forces (JSDF) Mitsubishi F-15J allegedly buzzed a Chinese Tupolev Tu-154 (NATO reporting name: Careless) over the East China Sea.

Video released from the Chinese show a F-15J near the wingtip of what appears to be a Careless.

“We believe there is no truth in China’s assertions that Japanese fighter planes came within 30 meters of a Chinese plane and severely affected the flight’s safety,” Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters on Thursday, according to a Friday report by wire service Reuters.
“The airplanes (in the video) are different.”

Japanese officials asked China to pull down the video. China in turn said that Japan was attempting to, “deceive the international community.”

“Facing hard facts, the Japanese side’s remarks, in my view, are shameless, nonsense and unreasonable. We urge Japan to immediately stop any provocative actions and words,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a Friday press briefing reported by the state controlled Xinhua news service.
“The Chinese pilot’s operation was professional, standard and maintained restraint. The Japanese pilot’s practice was dangerous, and obviously provocative in nature,” according to a statement on the Chinese Ministry of Defense’s website.

For its part, Japanese officials said its planes were responding to a pair of Chinese Sukhoi Su-27 Flankers operating near Japanese military aircraft in a portion of the East China Sea where both countries claim as protected airspace.

The incident is the latest between the two regional rivals along their borders.

Reuters reported the Japan has scrambled fighters 415 times from March 2013 to March 2014 — a 38 percent increase from year before.

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Sam LaGrone

About Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the USNI Online Editor at the U.S. Naval Institute.
He was formerly the U.S. Maritime Correspondent for the Washington D.C. bureau of Jane’s Defence Weekly and Jane’s Navy International. In his role he covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
Sam is a 2003 graduate of Virginia Military Institute.