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'Hostile' radar likely used to test Japan
Publication Date : 07-02-2013
The use of fire-control radar by a Chinese Navy ship on a Maritime Self-Defence Force vessel in the East China Sea last week is believed to have been aimed at gauging the reaction of the US military and Japanese forces in the country.
The Defence Ministry said Tuesday a Chinese frigate used lock-on radar on an MSDF ship near the Senkaku Islands, Okinawa Prefecture, on January 30. It suspects another Chinese frigate also used the radar on an MSDF helicopter on January 19.
Members of a Chinese Communist Party group in charge of drawing up the party's security policies recently stated that Chinese vessels should fire warning shots when they encounter foreign vessels in Chinese territorial waters, according to sources.
Although it is unclear whether such discussions were reflected in the latest incident, the use of radar for guiding hostile fire, apparently on two separate occasions, suggests the moves were approved by party leadership.
Recently, China has increased its provocations, apparently aimed at the Self-Defence Forces. In December, a propeller airplane of China's State Oceanic Administration intruded into Japanese airspace over the Senkaku Islands, prompting the Air Self-Defence Force to scramble fighters.
"The incident was likely aimed at testing how the SDF and the US military stationed in Japan would react," a source close to the Chinese Communist Party said.
For the administration of Xi Jinping, which seeks to flex its muscle as a maritime power, if dialogue with Japan over the Senkakus is viewed by the Chinese as a compromise, it could hurt his leadership. Some observers thus believe the Xi administration will take a combination of soft and hard approaches toward Japan on territorial issues.
The Chinese media briefly reported the incidents by quoting Japanese media, while the Chinese government had yet to issue an official response as of Tuesday night.