Japan urged to stop surveillance of Chinese forces

Updated: 2011-10-27 07:25

By Qin Jize (China Daily)

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BEIJING - The Ministry of National Defense said on Wednesday that Japan's high frequency of surveillance of China's land and naval forces undermines China's national security interests.

Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun called on Japan to stop scrambling fighters to intercept Chinese planes, warning that this was the cause of air and maritime safety problems, and had severely disturbed military drills.

Japan has strengthened its efforts to monitor China in the East China Sea area in recent years.

Speaking at the ministry's monthly news conference, Yang said the number of Japanese jets approaching Chinese coastal waters from January to September increased 44 percent compared with the same period last year.

"It has endangered the safety of Chinese fighters and is causing air and maritime safety problems. We have sufficient evidence of this," Yang said.

"We hope the Japanese side can take a responsible attitude and effective measures to avoid any possible accidents," he added.

Japanese figures showed that its Air Self-Defense Forces had scrambled 83 times in the first half of the year to check out military aircraft from China, more than triple the number in the same period last year.

In fact, none of the Chinese aircraft entered Japanese air space, and Yang said that the conduct of the Chinese planes totally conformed to international law and practices.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Japanese jets scrambled 203 times from April to September. About 106 of those intercepts related to aircraft from Russia, with which Japan is engaged in a long-running territorial dispute. But scrambles related to Russia declined 29 percent compared with the same period last year.

Sino-Japanese ties are showing signs of improvement as Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba is due to visit Beijing early next month to discuss with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi the timing and details of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's first China visit since taking office in September.

In another development, Yang Yujun on Wednesday denied that China's increasing activities in Africa went against the country's policy of non-interference in other nations' internal affairs.

Yang said China attaches great importance to cooperation with developing countries, including African nations.

"The Chinese military has been participating in African security affairs for years. It has taken part in 15 UN peacekeeping missions there and has dispatched a total of 15,000 peacekeeping officers and soldiers," Yang said.

According to Yang, as of Tuesday, the Chinese naval fleet has escorted a total of 4,228 ships in the waters of the Gulf of Aden off Somalia.