BEIJING – China has accused Japan of raising regional tensions with its increased use of fighter jets to monitor Chinese aircraft that approach a cluster of islands claimed by both countries.
Japan said Wednesday that it dispatched fighter jets in response to Chinese planes 306 times during the 12 months through March 2013, up from 156 the previous year.
Chinese aircraft have steadily increased patrols in the East China Sea, where the Japanese-controlled islands are located. There has been only one report of a Chinese plane violating Japanese airspace over the uninhabited islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Japan's use of fighter jets only increased tension. He added that Beijing hoped the sides could negotiate a settlement to the dispute.