China navy plane crashes on training mission

China navy plane crashes on training mission
A Chinese SU-27 fighter flies over the East China Sea, in this handout photo taken May 24, 2014 and released by the Defense Ministry of Japan May 25, 2014. Chinese fighter jets flew within a few dozen metres of Japanese military planes over the East China Sea, Japanese officials said on Sunday, prompting the defence minister to accuse Beijing of going "over the top" in its approach to disputed territory.

SHANGHAI - A Chinese navy plane crashed on a training mission over the eastern coastal province of Zhejiang, the official Xinhua news agency said Friday, but did not say if there were casualties.

The military plane crashed late Thursday night in a mountainous area near the city of Yiwu, it said.

Xinhua said the plane belonged to the navy's East China Sea fleet while the military news channel of the Sina website quoted sources as saying the aircraft was a fighter-bomber JH-7 "Flying Leopard".

The fleet's area of responsibility includes disputed islands in the East China Sea, according to state media, which Japan administers and calls the Senkaku islands but which China also claims and names the Diaoyu islands.

For more than a year since Tokyo nationalised some of the islands in September 2012, Chinese vessels and aircraft have regularly approached them, playing cat and mouse with the Japanese coastguard.

Search and rescue teams were looking for the crew of the crashed plane, Xinhua reported, but did not say how many people were on board. The JH-7 typically carries two.

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