Chinese defense ministry again summons Japanese officials

Chinese defense ministry again summons Japanese officials
This photo taken on June 11, 2014, released by Ministry of National Defence of the People's Republic of China shows a Japanese F-15 jet approaching a Chinese plane (out of frame) in a spot where the two countries' air defence zones overlap.

China's top defence authority issued a rare response to Tokyo by lodging two official protests within two days to call upon the country to stop denying it has made false accusations against the Chinese army. China's Defence Ministry posted a statement on its website on Saturday morning that said it had summoned the defence attache of the Japanese embassy in China to lodge a serious protest on Friday night.

Tensions had escalated on Wednesday, when Japan accused Beijing of sending military aircraft to engage in the "unusual approach" of Japanese fighter jets.

Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng made a statement on Thursday, and the ministry summoned Japanese officials and posted two video clips of the airspace confrontation on its website. On Saturday, the ministry said: "Tokyo has turned a blind eye to reality and has distorted the facts by making misleading arguments."

Two Japanese F-15 fighter jets intruded upon China's East China Sea Air Defence Identification Zone on Wednesday to conduct reconnaissance and follow the regular patrol of China's Tu-154 plane.

Video showed the Japanese fighter jets were carrying missiles when stalking the Chinese plane. Beijing said the shortest distance between the two countries' planes was about 30 meters.

"The Japanese side persisted with its position and refused to admit its mistakes," China's Defence Ministry said.

During Friday night's representation, ministry officials presented videos and photographs showing Japanese aircraft conducting close-distance reconnaissance and interventions against Chinese air force planes.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga and Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera on Friday demanded the Chinese side take the videos off the website.

The Japanese defence authorities even claimed Beijing "picked the wrong footage".

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying rebuked the request, calling it "shameless" and "unreasonable".

Tsinghua University senior scholar of Japanese studies Liu Jiangyong said the ruling Japanese cabinet is seeking to shift global focus away from its poor image and its controversial positions on historical issues.

The Japanese armed forces have strengthened reconnaissance and intrusion into China's ADIZ, Liu said. And Tokyo seeks to "beef up its military muscle and increase its comparative advantage on the sea and in the air when competing with China".

Prominent Japanese officials "made ludicrous remarks that demanded the Chinese site remove the relevant video footage", China's Defence Ministry said.

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