Tokyo: Amidst the ongoing conflict over Senkaku islands in ‘East China Sea’, China has created a new controversy by flying its fighter jets and bombers within close proximity of Japan’s Okinawa islands. In response to China’s aggression, Japan deployed its fighter jets and forced Chinese warplanes to retreat. This aerial exercise by China is being taken very seriously due the fact that US have their military and air base on the Okinawa islands, located to the south of Japan.
China’s ‘People’s Liberation Army’ has been conducting regular drills in the Pacific ocean for the last few weeks. Based on information published on social media, China’s air-force is also actively participating in the drills in the western Pacific region. China has stated that this aerial drill has been done as per its pre-decided time schedule. A spokesperson from China’s air-force added that their drills are not against any specific country.
Meanwhile, the Japanese defense ministry has accused China of breaching its airspace. Two Sukhoi-30’s infiltrated Japan’s Miyako strait in the Okinawa and Senkaku islands. Right after this, two of China’s long range strategic bombers, ‘H6-K’ entered Okinawa’s airspace. Moreover, it is believed that two of China’s ‘signal intelligence’ aircrafts were also involved in this exercise. These aircrafts were said to be flying within Okinawa island’s airspace for a few minutes. Before entering the Japanese airspace, these aircrafts had breached Taiwan’s airspace through Philippines.
Chinese fighter planes had infiltrated the air space of Senkaku and Okinawa islands earlier this year in September too. Chinese aircrafts were flying within Japanese airspace for about half an hour. They had to retreat after being confronted by Japanese fighter jets. However China claimed that it was carrying out a routine drill within its own airspace. According to information shared by the Japanese air-force, it had to deploy their jets 407 times to stop China’s aircrafts, in the first half 2016 itself. China has bluntly disregarded this accusation. On the contrary, they have accused Japan of infiltrating the Chinese airspace.
The sea dispute within China and Japan seems to be getting worse day by day. China had agreed to resolve this issue through discussion during the meeting in Lima. However within a few hours of this, China’s destroyers infiltrated the borders of Senkaku islands. China have claimed rights over the Senkaku islands and its airspace. But Japan claims rights over it and is providing evidence to support the claim. However, China is not willing to accept this evidence and continues to infiltrate this region with its destroyers and aircrafts.
US has its largest military base within Japan on the Okinawa islands. At this air-base, US has deployed several squadrons which include fighter jets as well as modern aircrafts such as Osprey, Chinook and Awac. China had flown over Okinawa’s airspace in the past too. However this time, by deploying fighter jets as well as bombers, China seems to have challenged Japan as well as the US.