Japan has summoned China’s ambassador to complain about two Chinese fighter jets flying “dangerously” close to Japanese surveillance planes in the East China Sea.
In an attempt to urge Beijing to create a maritime communication system with Tokyo, Japan’s Vice Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki on Thursday called in Chinese Ambassador Cheng Yonghua, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its website.
The move came a day after Tokyo said two Chinese SU-27 jets flew just 30 meters away from one of its aircrafts in a spot where the two countries’ air defense zones overlap.
The area where the Chinese jets passed by the Japanese aircraft is about 200-300 kilometers north of the disputed Japanese-controlled islands in the East China Sea, known as the Senkakus in Japanese and the Diaoyus in Chinese.
Top government spokesperson Yoshi-hideh Suga said this was the second of such incidents in less than three weeks. He also warned China to prevent another “dangerous” accident and exercise restraint.
The development comes after Tokyo said on June 6 that two Chinese ships had sailed into the waters in the East China Sea disputed by the two sides for the 13th times this year.
Chinese vessels and aircraft have regularly approached the East China Sea archipelago, believed to be rich in natural resources, after Japan nationalized some of the islands in September 2012, setting off the latest round in a long-running territorial dispute.
Fears of an ensuing conflict grew in November 2013, when China declared an air defense zone with military over-flights over a stretch of East China Sea covering the islands.
The dispute has negatively affected bilateral trade and diplomatic ties between Tokyo and Beijing.