WASHINGTON – Tokyo supports Washington’s position regarding Sunday’s collision between a U.S. eavesdropping plane and a Chinese fighter jet over the South China Sea, Japanese Ambassador to the United States Shunji Yanai said Tuesday.
Yanai told a news conference that he hopes for an early return of the EP-3 plane and its 24-member crew to the U.S.
The ambassador also said he hopes the incident will come to an amicable resolution and avoid becoming a major diplomatic issue between the U.S and China.
Yanai dismissed Beijing’s allegation that the U.S. plane invaded Chinese airspace when it landed on Hainan Island off southern China.
“The accident happened in points far from Chinese airspace. An emergency landing the plane was forced to make does not represent violation of airspace,” he said.
Yanai also backed the legitimacy of Washington’s request that Chinese officials refrain from boarding the grounded plane.
International law stipulates that a military plane represents the sovereign territory of its country, he said.
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