NAHA, OKINAWA PREF. – Chinese surveillance ships were spotted near the Senkaku Islands on Sunday, the coast guard reported, showing that China isn’t backing down from Japan’s allegations of radar-lock provocations in the East China Sea.
Four Chinese surveillance vessels entered the contiguous zone adjacent to Japan’s territorial waters around the Senkakus from around 7 a.m., said the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture.
Their return to the Senkakus came just after Onodera said Chinese movements around the islet chain had “calmed” in the wake of Tuesday’s announcement.
On Tuesday, the Defense Ministry said that a Chinese frigate directed fire-control radar at a Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer near the Senkakus on Jan. 30, finally revealing the Japanese navy’s presence in the area.
It also said another Chinese warship locked its weapons-guidance system onto an MSDF helicopter in the area on Jan. 19.
China’s Defense Ministry has point-blank denied these allegations, but Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Saturday the government may disclose hard evidence proving the incidents.
Russian planes spotted
The Air Self-Defense Force scrambled fighter jets Saturday afternoon to intercept two Russian military patrol planes spotted close to Japan’s western coast, the Defense Ministry’s Joint Staff Office reported.
The Russian aircraft did not violate Japanese airspace, the office noted.
The incident follows a brief incursion into Japan’s airspace Thursday by two Russian Air Force SU-27 fighter jets near the island of Rishiri, off northwestern Hokkaido — the first such violation by Russian aircraft in about five years.
According to the office, Self-Defense Forces radar detected the two Russian patrol planes approaching Japan on Saturday afternoon, passing over the Sea of Japan.
In response, ASDF fighters were scrambled from the bases of the Northern, Central and Western air defense forces, it said.
The Russian aircraft flew south over the Sea of Japan from a point close to Wakkanai, Hokkaido, to near Sado Island in Niigata Prefecture before departing in a westerly direction, the office said.