2013年2月7日木曜日

日中尖閣ホットライン

中国海軍の一部が示威行動を行ったようだ。
 政府は、中国海軍の艦艇が、東シナ海の公海上で3キロ離れた場所を航行
中の海上自衛隊の護衛艦に、ミサイルや砲弾を発射するため狙いを定める
射撃管制用レーダーを照射したと発表した。海自護衛艦搭載のヘリコプター
に対し、同様の行為を疑わせる事案が発生した。政府は、外交ルートを通じ
て中国側に抗議した。

小野寺五典
・(通常の位置探索などと異なる)射撃用レーダーを発出するのは極めて
 特異な事例で、一歩間違えると大変危険な状況に陥る。厳しく中国側に
 自制を求めていく。
・発表まで一週間かかった理由は「正確な分析に時間がかかった」。

防衛省
・2013年1月30日10時頃
 東シナ海を航行中の海自の護衛艦「ゆうだち」が、3km離れた場所にいた
 中国海軍のフリゲート艦から、射撃管制用レーダーを数分間照射された。
 照射された場所は中国が領有権を主張する沖縄・尖閣諸島から北東へ100
 km以上離れた海域。
・2013年1月19日17時頃
 東シナ海上空を飛行していた護衛艦「おおなみ」搭載のヘリコプターに
 対し、中国海軍のフリゲート艦から射撃管制用レーダーの照射とみられる
 行為があった。(照射された疑いが高い)。

安倍晋三
・挑発に乗ってはいけない。冷静に対処することが大事だ。

主要航路ではない尖閣諸島周辺を米運輸省は「民間船舶に対して航行回避
勧告」のようだが、民間船舶は中国周辺の公海も回避したほうが良いかも
しれない。

公海で、射撃管制用レーダーの照射の場合、反撃しても、日本を除き、
国際的には、正当防衛が成立するとのこと。
宣戦布告もなく、艦隊行動でもない(?)状態で、海自艦船に射撃レーダを
照射され、艦内は警告表示。指揮官は次の事態に備え、回避と反撃体制を
指示と思う。
個別的自衛権の行使は、認められているから、射撃レーダの感知能力や
回避・反撃行動の収集と挑発が大きな目的か。中国世論の操作説もある。

「犬に論語」の言葉通り、曳光弾発射も含め、国際的道義は通じない中国。

報道によれば、日中尖閣ホットラインは開設済。
艦船や航空機等接近時の無線周波数と交信言語、防衛大臣定期会談開催
による諸問題議論等は決まったが、以降進展せず説もある。
緊張が続き、中国軍が独走した海南島事件は避けたいとのこと。

防衛大臣による突然の発表を米国は見越しており、中国政府の国内向け
思惑も含め、日本政府の国内向けの憲法改正の喚起や啓蒙への思惑もあり、
一挙両得か。日中戦略的互恵関係はどこまで浸透しているのだろうか。
役立たずな公明党を自民党が切り捨てる時期が早まるか。
良く出来た筋書きのようだ。

米中軍事交流
衆院選2012 タカ派選択
尖閣安保保険
中国 侵略戦争準備


Japan Says China Pointed Military Radar at Its Destroyer


Chinese frigate targets Japanese guard ship near Senkaku islands


---中国、甘言の裏で“威嚇” 訪中「成功」の公明党、頭抱える---
2013.2.6 20:54
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/politics/news/130206/stt13020620550007-n1.htm

 中国海軍艦船が海上自衛隊の護衛艦に射撃管制用レーダーを照射した問題で、訪中を「成功」させたばかりの公明党が頭を抱えている。
 山口那津男代表ら党訪中団は1月25日に中国共産党の習近平総書記との会談にこぎつけ、会談で習氏から日中首脳会談の実現に向け「積極的な雰囲気をつくることが大事だ」との言葉を引き出した。公明党側も「重要な一歩」と評価していたが、その前後に軍事衝突に発展しかねない事態に直面していたことになる。
 訪中メンバーの1人でもあった石井啓一政調会長は6日の記者会見で「中国の行動は(首脳会談実現に向け)『積極的な雰囲気』をつくることに前向きと考えられるか」と問われると、「中国内のどういう事情で(照射が)起こったのか判明していない。きちんと中国側から説明を求めることがまず大事だ」と取り繕った。


---武力衝突避けたいが本音? 中国専門家「一触即発の状況には至っていない」---
2013.2.6 12:56
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/world/news/130206/chn13020612580005-n1.htm

 【北京=川越一】中国共産党機関紙、人民日報傘下の国際情報紙、環球時報は6日付で、中国海軍のフリゲート艦が海上自衛隊の護衛艦に射撃管制用レーダーを照射したことについて、「(日中関係は)危険な時期に入った」などとする専門家の意見を伝えた。
 中国の軍事専門家はレーダー照射を自衛行為と定義。今回の行動について「警告の性質を帯びている」と中国メディアに語っている。軍事衝突のリスクを高める挑発行為にもかかわらず、中国外務省や国防省は5日、公式見解を出さず、静観を装った。
 6日付の中国各紙の多くは、日本メディアの報道を引用して事実を伝えるに留めた。専門家は環球時報に対し、「軍事的見地からいえば、照準を合わせた後はすぐに発射できる。しかし、現在の中日関係の情勢からは一触即発の状況には至っていない」と述べている。威嚇をエスカレートさせている中国側も、武力衝突は避けたいというのが、本音とみえる。


---米がレーダー照射に懸念表明 国務省報道官---
2013年2月6日 11時25分
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/s/article/2013020601000929.html

 【ワシントン共同】米国務省のヌランド報道官は5日の記者会見で、中国海軍艦船による沖縄県・尖閣諸島周辺での海上自衛隊護衛艦への射撃管制用レーダー照射について「見込み違いの事故が起こる可能性をはらんでいる」と指摘した上で、東アジア地域の緊張を高めることになるとして「懸念」を表明した。
 オバマ政権は、日本と中国の関係改善を望んでおり、尖閣をめぐる問題が拡大することを警戒している。
 ヌランド氏は1日に就任したケリー国務長官が5日、中国の楊潔チ外相と初めて電話会談した際に取り上げたかどうかについては「地域の安全保障問題全体が議題となった」とだけ述べた。


---レーダー照射、米国務省報道官「懸念している」---
2013年2月6日09時38分  読売新聞
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/world/news/20130206-OYT1T00251.htm

 【ワシントン=山口香子】米国務省のヌーランド報道官は5日の記者会見で、東シナ海での中国海軍による海上自衛隊艦艇への火器管制レーダー照射について、「このような行動は緊張を高め、(偶発的衝突などの)事故や誤算の危険性を増やす」と批判した上で、「(中国の行動を)懸念している」と述べた。
 報道官は、中国の行動が「この重要な地域での平和や安定、経済成長を損なう恐れがある」とも警告した。
 同日、ケリー国務長官が中国の楊潔チ(ヤンジエチー)(よう・けつち)外相と電話会談したが、この問題を取り上げたかについて、報道官は、「地域の安全保障問題を協議した」と述べるにとどめ、明言を避けた。
 米国防総省も5日、この問題を受けて声明を出し、尖閣諸島は日本の施政下にあり、対日防衛義務を定めた日米安全保障条約の対象になるとの米国の立場は「変わっていない」と強調した。


---中国艦レーダー照射 「臨戦態勢」譲歩引き出す狙い---
2013.2.6 07:09
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/world/news/130206/chn13020607110001-n1.htm

 【北京=川越一】中国海軍のフリゲート艦が、海上自衛隊護衛艦に向けて火器管制レーダーを照射した。習近平・共産党中央軍事委員会主席(総書記)の重要指示に基づき、臨戦態勢を強化していることをちらつかせることで、沖縄県・尖閣諸島(中国名・釣魚島)をめぐる問題で安倍政権から譲歩を引き出す狙いがうかがえる。
 軍機関紙、解放軍報は1月14日、総参謀部が全軍に対し「戦争の準備をせよ」と指示したと報じた。同じ日、軍事科学学会副秘書長の羅援少将は国営中央テレビで、「日本が曳光(えいこう)弾を使用するならば、中国はさらに一歩進めてレーダー照射を行え」という趣旨の発言をしていた。
 羅氏は過激な発言で知られるが、昨年8月、同諸島に関する白書を発表するよう主張。中国政府は約1カ月後に「釣魚島は中国固有の領土」と題する白書を発表した。太子党(高級幹部子弟)に属する羅氏は習氏に近い存在とされる。今回も習氏が事前に“挑発”を容認していたと推測される。中国が国家海洋局監視船による領海侵犯を繰り返しても、膠着(こうちゃく)状態に変化は見られない。中国側に有利な状況を作ろうと習氏が軍強硬派の意見に耳を傾け始めたとすれば、危険な兆候だ。


---中国艦がレーダー照射 先月 東シナ海、海自護衛艦に---
2013年2月6日 朝刊
http://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/politics/news/CK2013020602000126.html

 政府は五日、中国海軍の艦艇が一月三十日、東シナ海の公海上で三キロ離れた場所を航行中の海上自衛隊の護衛艦に、ミサイルや砲弾を発射するため狙いを定める射撃管制用レーダーを照射したと発表した。一月十九日にも海自護衛艦搭載のヘリコプターに対し、同様の行為を疑わせる事案が発生した。政府は五日、外交ルートを通じて中国側に抗議した。 
 小野寺五典防衛相は同日、防衛省内で記者団に「(通常の位置探索などと異なる)射撃用レーダーを発出するのは極めて特異な事例で、一歩間違えると大変危険な状況に陥る。厳しく中国側に自制を求めていく」と述べた。発表まで一週間かかった理由は「正確な分析に時間がかかった」と述べた。
 同省によると、一月三十日午前十時ごろ、東シナ海を航行中の海自の護衛艦「ゆうだち」(佐世保基地所属)が、三キロ離れた場所にいた中国海軍のフリゲート艦から、射撃管制用レーダーを数分間、照射された。防衛省関係者によると、照射された場所は中国が領有権を主張する沖縄・尖閣諸島から北東へ百キロ以上離れた海域だという。
 また、一月十九日午後五時ごろ、東シナ海上空を飛行していた護衛艦「おおなみ」(横須賀基地所属)搭載のヘリコプターに対し、中国海軍のフリゲート艦から射撃管制用レーダーの照射とみられる行為があった。防衛省は「照射された疑いが高い」としている。
 安倍晋三首相は五日、官邸で小野寺五典防衛相と会った際に、中国側の射撃用レーダー照射について「挑発に乗ってはいけない。冷静に対処することが大事だ」と指示した。
<射撃管制用レーダー> 速射砲やミサイルを発射するため、目標に電波を照射して距離、方位を精密に測定するレーダー。護衛艦は艦首と艦尾に2個搭載しており、それぞれ前方と後方に照射する。他国の艦艇も同様とみられる。戦闘機も機首に搭載している。


---尖閣周辺、近づかないよう…米が民間船舶に勧告---
2013年2月1日18時47分  読売新聞
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/world/news/20130201-OYT1T01178.htm

 【ワシントン=中島健太郎】尖閣諸島(沖縄県石垣市)をめぐる日本と中国の対立が船舶の航行を妨げる可能性があるとして、米運輸省が米国籍の民間船舶などに対し、周辺に近づかないよう勧告していることが1日、明らかとなった。
 勧告は1月28日付で、同省のウェブサイトで公開。周辺海域で日本の自衛隊や海上保安庁、中国海軍の艦船などが活動していることを理由に「近づかないことが望ましい」としている。
 関係者によると、尖閣諸島周辺海域は主要航路から外れており、民間船舶の航行はほとんどないという。


---日中が海上の衝突回避へ連絡体制 ホットライン開設、尖閣めぐり---
2012/07/27 02:02
http://www.47news.jp/CN/201207/CN2012072601001925.html

 【北京共同】沖縄県・尖閣諸島周辺を含む東シナ海のトラブル回避に向け、日本と中国の防衛当局がホットラインの開設など連絡メカニズムの構築で実質的に合意していたことが26日、分かった。複数の日中関係筋が明らかにした。中国海軍の活動が活発化する中、日中の衝突回避に向け大きな前進。年内にも正式に合意し、早期の運用開始を目指す。
 自衛隊と中国人民解放軍の艦船、航空機による衝突事故や誤った事実認定によって偶発的な軍事衝突に発展するのを防ぐのが目的。日本はロシアや韓国と同種の協定を結んでいるが、中国とは締結していなかった。


---Abe blasts China over maritime incident---
By Jonathan Soble in Tokyo and Kathrin Hille in Beijing
Last updated: February 6, 2013 5:18 am
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7ed11fb8-6f7f-11e2-956b-00144feab49a.html#axzz2K6BcU1AA

Shinzo Abe has accused China of provocatively escalating an increasingly dangerous Sino-Japanese spat over the Senkaku Islands, a day after Tokyo accused the Chinese navy of aiming weapons at a Japanese warship.

“It was a unilateral, provocative act and extremely regrettable,’’ the Japanese prime minister said on Wednesday. “I urge strong restraint by China so the situation will not unnecessarily escalate.”

Japan’s defence ministry on Tuesday said a Chinese frigate had locked a weapons radar on to a Japanese destroyer on January 30, and that a Chinese ship had targeted a Japanese helicopter in the same way two weeks before that.

“This is extremely abnormal behaviour,” Itsunori Onodera, the Japanese defence minister said on Tuesday. “A small mistake could have led to a very dangerous situation.”

The escalation follows a string of increasingly serious incidents over the small chain of East China Sea islands - which China calls the Diaoyu - in recent months.

The clash, which remains the most serious of several maritime disputes between an increasingly assertive China and its neighbours, has spilled over into the economic realm and threatened to embroil the US, which is Japan’s military ally.

Beijing last month criticised Hillary Clinton, then US secretary of state, after she said Washington opposed “any unilateral actions that would seek to undermine Japanese administration” of the islands. Trade between China and Japan has also fallen because of unofficial consumer boycotts of Japanese goods in China.

On Tuesday, Victoria Nuland, the US state department spokesperson, said Washington was concerned that the latest episode could “escalate tensions” and lead to a potential “miscalculation”.

With tensions in the area running high, and both sides having dispatched fighter planes and ships in recent months, experts warn that even a small accident or perceived provocation could tip Asia’s two main powers into armed conflict.

In January, Beijing said it had scrambled fighters against Japanese military aircraft, in the first acknowledgment that the dispute had escalated to include the military. But the alleged radar “lock-on” by the Chinese ship marks the first time that one side has reported being targeted by the other’s weapons.

The incident could damage efforts to ease tensions. A longstanding disagreement over the ownership of the Senkaku boiled over in September after the Japanese government bought several of the islands from their private Japanese owner, prompting accusations from Beijing that Tokyo was trying to tighten its control.

Until Tuesday, a quiet diplomatic effort appeared to be making headway. Xi Jinping, the Chinese Communist party leader, on January 25 told a coalition partner of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that China was willing to discuss the issue.

Mr Xi, who is slated to replace Hu Jintao as president next month, said the two powers had a joint responsibility to ensure peace and stability. Following the meeting, a barrage of bellicose language in the Chinese media calmed down, and Chinese government ships avoided the waters around the islands for several days.

The Chinese defence and foreign ministries on Tuesday did not comment on the Japanese accusations.

Colonel Dai Xu, a professor at the National Defense University where the Chinese military trains young officers, said “Chinese ships would only have taken such steps to send a warning to Japanese naval vessels after being threatened by them”.

China-based diplomats expressed hope that Mr Xi and Mr Abe would meet on the sidelines of a trilateral summit with South Korea’s new president in April or May, but added that it was difficult to see how the deadlock could be resolved.

“Although the tone has been a bit softer since January 25, we don’t see a way out at the moment,” said one Japanese diplomat. “We are stuck.”


---Tensions Flare as Japan Says China Threatened Its Forces---
Updated February 5, 2013, 8:05 p.m. ET
By YUKA HAYASHI in Tokyo, JEREMY PAGE in Beijing and JULIAN E. BARNES in Washington
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324445904578285442601856314.html#articleTabs%3Darticle

Japan accused China's navy of locking weapons-guiding radar onto Japanese naval forces twice in the past three weeks, an escalation of their territorial dispute that has heightened fears of a military conflict between the Asian giants-one that could entangle the U.S.

While no shots were fired, the radar at issue often precedes an attack. The incidents Japan described followed nearly two months of increasing tussles between the two air forces, including the first-ever reported intrusion by China into airspace claimed by Japan and the scrambling of advanced fighter jets by both sides.

The radar incidents "were cases that could have led to an extremely dangerous situation with just one wrong move," Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said at a news conference in Tokyo Tuesday.

Diplomats and analysts say Chinese and Japanese political leaders are all anxious to avoid even a limited military confrontation, stressing that it isn't in the interest of Asia's two largest economies, linked tightly by trade and investment, to engage in a military battle.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Defense Department, Maj. Cathy Wilkinson, said Tuesday that "we have seen and are concerned by the reports of [the Chinese radar] incident" and that the U.S. has long been encouraging all parties to avoid any step that could raise the risk of a miscalculation.

The U.S., Japan's largest military ally, is bound by six-decade-old security treaty to defend Japan from any attack. Moreover, the Obama administration has made clear it is intent on winding down the wars the U.S. is involved in, not joining new ones. Yet the U.S. also is committed to strengthening its defense ties with Japan as part of a strategic "pivot" toward Asia, which Beijing sees as a thinly veiled plot to contain China's expanding economic and military power.

The continuing tensions put Washington in a bind. While the U.S. doesn't want a war in Asia, it also can't risk weakening Japan and emboldening China without undermining its entire strategy in the Pacific. How the East China Sea island dispute is managed will have an impact on whether China's territorial disputes in the South China Sea grow more pointed. That has left Washington in a position to continue pressing for more talks between China and Japan, subtly reminding Beijing that while it takes no position in territorial disputes, it recognizes Tokyo's administrative control.

China's foreign ministry and defense ministry didn't respond to requests for comment Tuesday evening. Japan's foreign minister said Chinese officials responded to Tokyo's protests by saying "that they would first like to confirm the facts."

The increasingly testy military shadowboxing in the East China Sea between the two ancient rivals is complicated by the rise of new leaders in both countries trying to establish their security credibility, and by the shifting geopolitical dynamics of a region where China's military and economic power has already unnerved some other countries.

The military tangles mark a turning point in the emergence of China as a major military power apparently determined to reshape the U.S.-designed security architecture that has dominated Asia since 1945. Both Japan and China are intensifying military buildups, justified in part by the need to be prepared for conflict with the other.

"The region increasingly resembles a 21st-century maritime redux of the Balkans a century ago-a tinderbox on water," wrote former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in Foreign Policy magazine last month, evoking the run-up to World War I.

Most analysts say a full-blown war is highly unlikely. But one worrisome element is a lack of direct communication channels and a code of conduct between the two nations' militaries. When Japanese military officials want to get in touch with counterparts in the People's Liberation Army, military attaches at the Japanese embassy in Beijing send a fax to the Chinese defense ministry, which can take days to respond.

Japanese and Chinese officials agreed last June to create emergency mechanisms to avoid accidental clashes in the East China Sea. The plan was to set up a hotline between defense leaders, to agree on a common radio frequency for vessels and aircraft to communicate in English when approaching each other, and to meet annually to discuss issues of concern. But no further talks have taken place since then.

All sides are mindful of an incident in 2001 when a Chinese fighter jet crashed after clipping the wing of a U.S. spy plane it was trying to intercept off the southern Chinese island of Hainan. U.S. officials couldn't make contact with the Chinese military or foreign ministry for several hours after the incident, said people familiar with it.

The U.S. has been pressing Japanese officials to try to get the hot-line talks moving again, figuring such agreements are key if low-level clashes are to be headed off before they become larger. "What you don't want is midlevel officers making decisions that force leaders of countries into bad strategic options," said a senior U.S. defense official.

Maj. Wilkinson, the Pentagon spokeswoman, said the U.S. has long counseled against moves "that raise tensions and increase the risk of miscalculations that could undermine peace and stability in the region."

At the State Department, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said, "Actions such as this escalate tensions and increase the risk of an incident or a miscalculation."

A diplomatic thaw appeared to be emerging late last month, when a senior lawmaker from Japan's ruling coalition visited Beijing and personally handed a letter from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Xi Jinping, the new Chinese leader, raising expectations the two leaders might be open to summit talks.

At a parliamentary session on Wednesday, Mr. Abe said, "It is extremely regrettable that China took such provocative action unilaterally amid signs of emerging dialogue between Japan and China. He urged Beijing to "prevent the recurrence of such incidents and avoid escalating tensions needlessly."

As Japan's complaints show, there is no easy escape from the dispute over the small collection of uninhabited rocks-known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China-with both sides finding it difficult to back down or give the other a face-saving out.

"We face continued provocations against our inherent land, waters, skies and sovereignty," Mr. Abe told Japanese troops Saturday as he surveyed a military base on Okinawa, a little under 300 miles from the area of dispute. He pledged to "confront the clear and present danger."

Mr. Abe has long been a prominent voice in Japan for taking a tougher line against China, and he followed his landslide election in December with a pledge to build up Japan's military, particularly in the East China Sea. Polls in Japan show both a rising dislike of China and growing popularity for Mr. Abe. Many Japanese, having watched their economy dwindle over two decades and feeling pressure from the Chinese and Korean economies, long to see a stronger nation again and are angered by China's assertive stance in the territorial dispute.

In China, Mr. Xi is under pressure from a fiercely nationalistic Chinese public that, while increasingly critical of corruption and abuse of power, insists the party protect China's territorial interests. Beijing blames the recent tensions on Tokyo's decision to purchase some of the islands from their private owner in September, and it is demanding that Japan abandon its longstanding position of refusing to acknowledge the territorial dispute.

"The Japanese side should stop the illegal activity of repeatedly sending ships and aircraft into the waters and airspace of the Diaoyu islands…and work together with China to find an effective way to appropriately control and resolve this issue through dialogue and consultation," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a news conference earlier Tuesday when asked about Chinese ships operating near the islands.

Mr. Xi, who is the military chief as well as Communist Party leader, also is trying to establish credibility among Chinese commanders, many of whom believe the time has come for China to use its newly acquired firepower to assert itself in the region and beyond. Mr. Xi has taken personal charge of the territorial disputes by heading a "leading group" on maritime issues, say people familiar with the matter.

Uniformed commentators continue to shape Chinese public opinion over territorial matters, with several talking openly in recent weeks about the possibility of a war with Japan and conceivably even the U.S.

There has also been a spate of state media reports highlighting military exercises. The People's Liberation Army Daily last week described a recent military exercise that appeared to simulate a U.S. military intervention in a conflict with China. In the exercise, Chinese air force pilots were locked in combat with an imaginary enemy when they were surprised to hear a voice speaking in English over their radio, according to the newspaper.

However, there have been calls for restraint on the Chinese side in recent days. A Chinese general believed to have close personal relations with Mr. Xi was quoted in state media Monday as urging China not to allow another war with Japan to disrupt China's decadeslong efforts to modernize its economy and reclaim its status as Asia's dominant power.

"The construction of our economy has now entered a key phase, and should not be interrupted by a chance occurrence," Gen. Liu Yuan, political commissar of the PLA's General Logistics Department, was quoted as saying in the Global Times newspaper. He added: "The United States and Japan fear that we will catch up with them, and are trying every possible way to contain China's development, but we absolutely cannot be fooled by them."

In the radar incidents Japan reported Tuesday, Defense Minister Onodera said Chinese frigates aimed fire-control radar at a Japanese naval destroyer on Jan. 30 and at a navy helicopter on Jan. 19. While neither incident involved firing of shots-the step that can follow use of such radar-this was "highly unusual behavior" that occurs "only in extreme situations," he said. "We intend to push China very hard to restrain from engaging in such dangerous acts."

Japan's defense ministry said the radar targeting the Japanese destroyer-Japan's 4,400-ton JS Yudachi-came from a smaller Chinese ship, a Jiangwei-II class missile frigate. The ministry said another Chinese frigate, from the Jiangkai-I class, targeted the Japanese helicopter.

Japan didn't disclose where in the East China Sea the incidents occurred or how close they were to the disputed islands.

Ni Lexiong, a maritime and military expert at Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, described Japan's claims as likely exaggerated and as intended to pressure China to scale back its maritime patrols in the area.

The report of the radar incidents followed a steady stream of increasing pressure from China around the disputed islands. Chinese maritime patrol boats have routinely entered territorial waters around the islands, flashing signs such as "Leave Chinese waters" and "Follow the Chinese law." On Jan. 8, such boats stayed in the territorial waters for 13 hours.

As Chinese maritime patrol and military surveillance planes flew into Japan's "air defense identification zone," Japan scrambled fighter planes against them 91 times in October through December-the most since Tokyo started disclosing such data in 2005.

Like many countries, Japan has a long-standing policy of intercepting unidentified or potentially hostile aircraft entering its air defense identification zone, or ADIZ, which extends 200 miles from its shores. But China disputes the legality of Japan's ADIZ and the airspace Japan claims around the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands. Maj. Gen. Zhang Zhaozhong, a Chinese military theorist, said in a recent Chinese press report that Beijing needs to "break" Japan's ADIZ with its own aircraft, including fighters.

"If their fighters come and our fighters don't go out, from a diplomatic and military perspective, there is no reciprocity: It's not good," he said. "But if both sides bring out fighter jets, as to whether that might lead to a clash between them, that is another question."

Japanese officials have hinted that Japanese fighters could fire tracer bullets in front of intruding aircraft, an action they haven't taken since 1987, in response to an intruding Soviet plane. China's military hasn't responded officially to that suggestion. But Maj. Gen. Peng Guangqian of the Chinese Academy of Military Sciences was quoted by the China News Service as saying that "firing tracer bullets is a type of provocation. It's firing the first shot."

The watershed moment for Japan came on Dec. 13 when Japan said a small Chinese propeller plane violated the airspace over the disputed islands. The surveillance plane, which belonged to China's State Oceanic Administration, flew so low it escaped Japan's land-based radar on a nearby island. Dec. 13 was the anniversary of the 1937 Nanjing massacre, the symbol of Japanese World War II era atrocities in China.

On Jan. 10, China scrambled its own military jets after Japanese fighter planes chased after a Chinese patrol flying near the disputed islands, Japan said.

Within weeks of the Dec. 13 airspace intrusion, which was the first in decades by China, Japan's Mr. Abe unveiled his country's first military-spending increase in 11 years. Among items in the budget was a new radar to replace dated equipment that had missed the Chinese plane.


---Chinese frigate targets Japanese guard ship near disputed islands---
Published: 05 February, 2013, 19:41
http://rt.com/news/duspited-islands-frigate-target-492/

A Chinese frigate has locked weapon-targeting radar on a Japanese guard vessel in the area of the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, said Japan’s Defense Ministry. The islands are the subject of a territorial row between Beijing and Tokyo.

The incident occurred at the end of January, but took time to confirm. Japan's Foreign Ministry sent a formal protest to China on Tuesday in connection with the incident.

"Directing such radar is very abnormal. We recognize it would create a very dangerous situation if a single misstep occurred," Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told the media.

The meeting of the two ships happened during a routine appearance of a group of Chinese patrol in the area of the disputed islands, known as the Diaoyu to the Chinese. In such cases Japanese frontier guards escort Chinese vessels and transmit radio demands to leave the territorial waters of Japan, but do not take any active measures, according to the ministry.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Onodera it was important to respond calmly and not meet provocation with provocation, according to Kyodo news agency.

Earlier Chinese ambassador to Japan Cheng Yonghua said the islands and the surrounding waters were China's "inherent territory".

China will continue to "regularly patrol territorial waters surrounding the Diaoyu Islands," the country’s state-run Xinhua news agency has quoted official Beijing.

In the past six months, Chinese frigates have been constantly in the waters of the disputed islands and from time to time make brief demonstrative approaches to coastal waters. The territorial row has escalated into saber-rattling on both sides. The Japanese military scrambled fighter jets over the incursions, and then vowed to shoot down intruders. Neither China nor Japan has dispatched ships or planes to occupy the islands and claim ownership.

Amid fears that tensions over the disputed islands between aircrafts or ships of the two states could cause an accidental clash, a leaders’ summit could be held in April, according to Japanese authorities.

The dispute over the islands and the maritime boundaries around them has continued for years. It escalated in recent months, when Tokyo announced the purchase of three of the islands from a private Japanese owner in September of last year. After that, China witnessed mass anti-Japanese demonstrations. A diplomatic scandal led to problems in bilateral economic relations. Several Japanese companies in China suspended their work for security reasons, and Chinese Customs’ clearance of goods slowed from Japan.

The 7 square kilometer island group, also known as the Pinnacle Islands, consists of five uninhabited islets and three barren rocks. They lie close to strategically important shipping lanes, are believed to contain oil deposits and offer rich fishing grounds.

Historically, the islands belonged to China for centuries, but Japan assumed control of the territory following the 1894 Sino-Japanese War. Taiwan has also claimed ownership of the islands.

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