Well, the Chinese seem to be taking the name “China Sea” seriously. First came the dispute with Vietnam, the Philippines, and probably any nation with a couple of dinghies and a drunk captain over the South China Sea.
HONG KONG — China’s Ministry of National Defense accused Japan on Thursday of airborne brinkmanship over the East China Sea, rejecting Tokyo’s account of the latest near encounters between military aircraft from the two increasingly estranged countries.
The official Chinese rejection of the Japanese version of events was predictable, but the vehement wording from Beijing showed the bitterness that has built up between the two neighbors. The Chinese defense ministry spokesman, Senior Col. Geng Yansheng, said that in two incidents on Wednesday that Japanese military aircraft flew “abnormally close” to Chinese air force planes — the opposite of the account by Japan’s Defense Ministry
“For some time, Japan has engaged in close-up tailing, monitoring and interfering with Chinese vessels and aircraft, risking the safety of the vessels and aircraft,” Colonel Geng said in a statement released on the ministry’s website. Japan’s behavior, he said, had “malign intentions and totally exposed its hypocrisy and two-facedness in relations with China.”
Ooooh, they’re “monitoring” a possibly hostile force of “vessels” and “aircraft”. Needless to say, Japan accuses China of aggression, that the surveillance planes were prop-driven…really?…and that Japan has photographic evidence that China’s planes were armed and aggressive.
This might all be as petty as the brouhaha over the South China Sea if it wasn’t for the history between the Japanese and the Chinese. Japan, you may recall, has punched above its weight several times in invading China, most recently during World War II.
And both nations are old enough that there are grudges a-plenty to go around.
Really, it would just take the wrong button punched on some console…