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China denies Japan's radar-lock allegation
Publication Date : 09-02-2013
Japan and China are engaged in a fresh round of invective over military movements near disputed islands
The Chinese National Defence Ministry yesterday denied that Chinese Navy vessels locked fire-control radar on a Maritime Self-Defence Force destroyer and a helicopter.
This is the first time the Chinese government has announced an official position on the issue since Japan announced the incidents earlier this week.
Japan has said a Chinese Navy frigate locked fire-control radar on an MSDF destroyer on January 30, and that another Chinese Navy vessel is suspected to have done so on an MSDF ship-based helicopter on January 19, both in the East China Sea near the Senkaku Islands.
China's statement, issued by the ministry's Information Office, denied the use of fire-control radar, and said Chinese Navy vessels only used regular observation radar.
"At around 4pm on January 19, a Chinese naval frigate, while conducting routine training in relevant waters in the East China Sea, spotted an approaching ship-borne helicopter of JSDF. The frigate kept normal observation and alert, and fire control radar was not used," the statement said.
Regarding the January 30 incident, it said, "At around 9am on January 30, a Chinese naval ship found itself closely followed and monitored by JSDF destroyer Yudachi while conducting routine training."
The radar on the ship "kept normal observation and alert, and fire-control radar was not used. Therefore, the Japanese side's remarks were against the facts," the statement said.
The statement also said Japan's actions were the fundamental cause of air and maritime problems between the two countries.
"What needs to be pointed out is that in recent years, Japanese warships and airplanes often conduct long time and close-in monitoring and surveillance of China's naval ships and airplanes. This is the root cause to air and maritime safety issues between China and Japan," it said.
The ministry strongly condemned Japan's actions on the issue.
"Recently, Japan has repeatedly spread false accusations which distorted facts and defamed Chinese military's normal combat readiness training," the ministry statement said. "This time, without verifying related facts with the Chinese side, Japan unilaterally released untrue information to the media and senior Japanese government officials made irresponsible remarks, which hyped up the so-called 'China threat' and recklessly created tension and misled international public opinion."
Japanese government officials said they cannot accept China's denial that its navy used fire-control radar on a Maritime Self-Defence Force ship and helicopter, and that the government would ask Beijing for further confirmation.
"We can't accept the explanations of the Chinese side on the issue at all," Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said at a press conference after Friday's Cabinet meeting. In response to Japan's inquiry on the issue, China has claimed the incidents reported by Japan did not take place.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga also expressed dissatisfaction with the Chinese response.
"[The explanations are] totally unacceptable. We'd like to ask China to sincerely respond to the matter," Suga said, indicating the government will likely ask the Chinese side to confirm facts again.
According to the Foreign Ministry, the Chinese National Defence Ministry notified the Japanese Embassy in Beijing on Thursday evening of its response.
The Japanese side immediately refuted China's claims, saying Japan's announcement of the incidents was the result of careful, detailed data analysis by the Japanese Defence Ministry.
Japan thus confirmed the lock-on of fire-control radar on an MSDF destroyer and the grounds to suspect direction of fire-control radar at an MSDF helicopter by Chinese Navy vessels, the embassy told the Chinese ministry.
Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera emphasised the accuracy of Japan's data during a Friday meeting of the House of Representatives Budget Committee.
"The data were properly gathered by a destroyer and analysed minutely by a special technical unit. They are perfectly accurate," Onodera said.