Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun on Thursday said the Chinese military is on guard against Japanese jet activity near the Diaoyu Islands, according to Xinhua News:
“We will decisively fulfill our tasks and missions while coordinating with relevant departments such as maritime supervision organs, so as to safeguard China’s maritime law enforcement activities and protect the country’s territorial integrity and maritime rights,” Yang said.
Yang said it is “justifiable” for the Chinese military to provide security in waters under China’s jurisdiction, and other countries are “in no position” to make irresponsible remarks in this regard.
“China-Japan defense relations are an important and sensitive part of bilateral ties, and the Japanese side should face up to the difficulties and problems that currently exist in bilateral ties,” Yang said.
While China and Japan have run patrol ships around the Diaoyus over the past few months, tensions escalated earlier this month when Japan scrambled fighter jets after it alleged that a Chinese surveillance plane violated its airspace above the territory. Observers have differed over whether China would use force over the islands. Australian academic Hugh White warned in the Sydney Morning Herald today that the U.S. and Japan could go to war with China over the islands next year unless each side overcomes the “mutual misconceptions” that have led to the current standoff:
Where will it end? The risk is that, without a clear circuit-breaker, the escalation will continue until at some point shots are exchanged, and a spiral to war begins that no one can stop. Neither side could win such a war, and it would be devastating not just for them but for the rest of us.
No one wants this, but the crisis will not stop by itself. One side or other, or both, will have to take positive steps
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