Japanese F-15 tails Chinese jet at close distance

Japanese F-15 tails Chinese jet at close distance
A Japanese F-15 jet (background) and a Chinese Tu-154 jet (foreground) fly over the East China Sea, in this still image from video footage released by China's Ministry of Defense. China said that Japan's accusations of Chinese fighter jets flying "abnormally close" to Japanese military aircraft over the East China Sea were aimed at deceiving the international community. Japan protested after Chinese warplanes flew "abnormally close" to Japanese military aircraft over the East China Sea on Wednesday.

China made a rare release of video footage and photos on Thursday to show the risky scene of Japanese aircraft stalking Chinese planes at a stunningly close distance above the East China Sea.

Experts observed that the Japanese aircraft were carrying missiles to pose a blunt threat, and the distance between them was close enough to lead to a crash.

China's Ministry of National Defence criticised Japan's accusation that a Chinese military aircraft had "approached unusually close" to two Japanese warplanes, saying it's "a thief who cries thief".

Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said that two Japanese F-15 fighter jets intruded into 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.

On May 24, Japan accused China of sending aircraft to approach Japanese planes at "an unusually close distance". But China said the two Japanese aircraft were disturbing an ongoing China-Russia naval drill.

Geng criticised Japan's second accusation within a month as "ignorance of the facts".

What has been done by the Japanese pilots was dangerous and "obviously provocative", Geng said.

The ministry attached links of two video clips of the airspace confrontation on its website.

Zhang Junshe, a researcher at the People's Liberation Army Naval Military Studies Research Institute, said the video showed that the Japanese planes carried missiles and weapons, which is a sort of intimidation and threat.

Li Jie, a senior professor at the Naval Military Studies Research Institute of the People's Liberation Army, said releasing the video footage is a good choice to help present the facts to the international community.

The ministry spokesman underscored the detail that "the closest distance was about 30 meters, which seriously affected the flight safety of the Chinese aircraft".

Li said 30 meters is an extremely dangerous distance. "Because both planes were flying at high speeds, and the two planes would have crashed within a tenth of a second if one of the pilots makes a wrong move."

Also on Wednesday, a YS-11EB electronic intelligence aircraft and an OP-3C surveillance plane from Japan conducted reconnaissance within the Chinese ADIZ and tailed Chinese planes.

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