China: Japanese military jets using 'dangerous' tactics

Japanese F-15 jets fly during a military review in 2013

Story highlights

  • Japanese intercepts of Chinese planes almost double a year ago
  • China says Japanese tactics are putting its fliers at risk

(CNN)Japanese military aircraft are increasingly engaging in dangerous intercepts of Chinese planes, putting the safety of Chinese fliers at risk and damaging bilateral relations, China's Defense Ministry said Thursday.

Japan reported earlier this month that it has scrambled its warplanes 407 times between April 1 and September 30 in reaction to increased Chinese military flights near Japanese airspace.
    That's almost double the number of intercepts Japan's Air Self Defense Force made on Chinese aircraft in the same period in 2015.
    "Such high-frequency reconnaissance against China not only disturbs the routine training of the Chinese military but also undermines the security interests of China," Col. Wu Qian, spokesperson for China's Ministry of National Defense, said at a briefing on Thursday.
    The Chinese Air Force sent more than 40 aircraft to the West Pacific near the Japanese island of Okinawa in late September.
    Wu said Japanese planes were using dangerous tactics during those intercepts.
    "The aircraft of Japanese Air Self Defense Force switched on the fire control radars or even dropped an infrared countermeasure bomb during encounters with Chinese aircraft," Wu said, calling those actions "unprofessional and dangerous."
    Wu said Chinese military flights near Japan were completely within international law and standard aviation practices.
    Japan's disproportionate response risked accidents and relations, he said.
    Japan's Defense Ministry on Friday said its Self Defense Force follows international law when conducting intercepts.
    "It has not taken any provocative actions against Chinese military planes nor endangered them as claimed by the spokesman of the Chinese Defense Ministry," the ministry said in a statement.
    China did not cite any specific incidents during Thursday's briefing.

    F-15-Su-30 encounter reported

    During the summer, China said two Japanese F-15 jets locked their fire control radars onto two Chinese Su-30 jets during a June 17 encounter over the East China Sea.
    When the Chinese jets maneuvered to counter the Japanese move, the Japanese fighter fired their infrared countermeasures, China's Defense Ministry said.
    And in late September, Japan sent up fighter jets after eight Chinese military planes crossed between Okinawa and the Miyako islands near Taiwan.

    Chinese fleet flies in Miyako Strait

    It was the first time that Chinese military aircraft had been seen in the Miyako Strait, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at the time.