Japan scrambles jets to counter Chinese 'intrusion'

Last Updated: Thu, Dec 13, 2012 21:41 hrs

Japan on Thursday scrambled fighter jets to counter what it called a 'intrusion of airspace' over disputed islets in the East China Sea by a Chinese government plane, even as China termed the flight 'completely normal'.

A Chinese Maritime Surveillance agency aircraft has flown over the islands disputed between the two countries without prior permission, the Japanese defence ministry said.

The Japanese airforce scrambled eight F-15 fighter jets and an E-2C early warning aircraft to respond to the perceived threat, the defence ministry said.

The Chinese plane intruded into Japanese airspace at 11:06 am local time (02:06 GMT) over the Japanese administered Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said.

Tokyo immediately lodged a protest with Beijing over the matter, Fujimura said.

China´s foreign ministry however termed Wednesday´s surveillance flight "completely normal".

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