• Kyodo

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Government officials Friday rejected Beijing’s claim that a Maritime Self-Defense Force ship and airplane interfered in Chinese naval exercises in the Western Pacific, saying the MSDF was conducting regular legal surveillance.

“I don’t see any problem as long as we conduct regular surveillance activities according to international law,” Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said, adding that Tokyo has already conveyed its view to Beijing.

“We monitored (their activities) by visual confirmation and with equipment to make sure they would not pose threats” to Japan, he said.

On Thursday, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said the MSDF ship entered a training area in the Western Pacific and the patrol aircraft repeatedly flew over it, calling their actions provocative and dangerous.

Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato rejected the claim that the MSDF engaged in dangerous activities that disrupted China’s military drills, telling reporters Friday that Japan will continue monitoring activities.

The Oct. 24 to Friday Chinese naval drills come at a time when Japan and China are at odds over the sovereignty of the Japan-administered Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

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