21:48 GMT24 November 2020
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    Relations between Japan and China have long been strained over wartime history and territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

    On Friday, Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (JASDF) scrambled fighter jets to intercept a Chinese electronic warfare and surveillance aircraft over the Sea of Japan, the South China Morning Post reported.

    According to a statement issued by the Japanese Defense Ministry, the fighter jets went after a Chinese Y-9 plane which had come from the East China Sea and flew near Socotra Rock, known as Suyan Rock in China, before returning along its original route to the East China Sea without straying into Japanese airspace.

    Japan’s military authorities have provided no details about how long the Chinese aircraft had stayed in the area or whether it had come into any direct contact with Japanese interceptors.

    This is the second time that a Chinese surveillance aircraft has been intercepted by Japanese air defenses.

    The previous intercept of a Y-9 plane was in June, when an aircraft flew across international airspace between the Japanese islands of Okinawa and Miyako in the East China Sea.

    In 2016, the JASDF doubled the number of fighter jets dispatched for each intercept of foreign military aircraft approaching Japanese airspace from two to four.

    The incident came just hours after South Korean F-15 fighters were similarly scrambled to warn off a Chinese warplane which had entered the country’s air defense territory on Friday, spending more than four hours there after flying near a submerged rock in an area controlled by Seoul but claimed by Beijing, the newspaper wrote.

    READ MORE: China ‘Quietly' Conducts Electronic Warfare Tests in South China Sea

    Friday’s incident came as Beijing and Tokyo have been mending bilateral ties long strained over their wartime history and territorial disputes over East China Sea islets known as the Senkakus in Japan and Diaoyus in China.


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