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Tokyo-Beijing Tension Mounts As Chinese Plane Flies Over Disputed Islands

A Chinese aircraft flew over the Senkaku islands on Thursday exacerbating tension between Tokyo and Beijing over the disputed islands in the East China Sea, Japanese media reported.

The "intruding" plane from China's maritime department left Japanese airspace by the time Japan scrambled fighter jets to deal with the situation.

A Japanese Coast Guard vessel spotted the aircraft about 15 kilometers south of Uotsuri island, part of the Senkaku island chain in Okinawa prefecture at around 11:06 a.m. local time and reported it to the country's Defense Ministry.

Eight F-15 fighter jets and an early warning aircraft from the Self-Defense Force (SDF) base in Naha, Okinawa, scrambled to the scene only to see that the intruder already left Japanese airspace, Japan's NHK broadcaster reported.

The Ministry said the SDF fighters did not issue any warning to the intruding aircraft, the first Chinese plane to violate Japan's airspace since the SDF began keeping records. But the Coast Guard vessel radioed to the aircraft, warning it not to enter Japanese airspace, but the plane responded that it was flying over Chinese airspace, the report said.

Meanwhile, four Chinese maritime patrol boats intruded into Japanese waters off the Senkaku islands the third consecutive day on Thursday. Such incursions are common since Japan in June nationalized the islands, which China calls as Diaoyu claiming them as its inherent territory. Taiwan has also staked its claims over the uninhabited but resource-rich islands which are under the administrative jurisdiction of Ishigaki city of Japan's Okinawa prefecture.

The Chinese aerial incursion comes on the 75th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre, when Japanese Imperial Army troops entered the then-capital of China and resorted to what is called an orgy of violence.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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