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Japan scrambles a Chinese plane flying near disputed islands

ROC Central News Agency

2013/01/05 21:21:24

Tokyo, Jan. 5 (CNA) Japanese fighter jets scrambled a Chinese plane flying near islands at the center of a territorial dispute between Tokyo and Beijing, the Japanese Defense Ministry said Saturday.

The ministry said that the Chinese Y-12 propeller plane ventured into airspace around 100 kilometers north of the Senkaku Islands at around noon on Saturday. The islets, known as the Diaoyutai Islands in Chinese, are also claimed by China and Taiwan.

The Chinese twin-turboprop later left the zone without entering Japanese airspace over the islands, it added.

This was the first time Japanese fighter jets had been scrambled to counter Chinese planes approaching the islands, and the sixth time since Dec. 13.

The uninhabited island chain in the resource-rich East China Sea, lie about 100 nautical miles northeast of Taiwan.

The island group has been under Japan's administrative control since 1972, but the Japanese government's move to purchase them from private Japanese 'owners' last year have raised tensions over the dispute.

(By Tsao Heng and Lilian Wu)

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