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Japan and China on it again

Staff writer |
Japan and China are using strong language again, this time over airspace, with each country summoning the other's ambassador and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe calling a newly declared Chinese maritime air defense zone dangerous and unenforceable.

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Mr. Abe told a parliamentary session that the zone alters the state of affairs in the East China Sea and escalates a tense situation. "The measures by the Chinese side have no validity whatsoever for Japan, and we demand China revoke any measures that could infringe upon the freedom of flight in international airspace. It can invite an unexpected occurrence and it is a very dangerous thing as well," said Mr. Abe.

On Saturday, Beijing issued a map of the zone and a set of rules that say all aircraft must notify Chinese authorities and are subject to emergency military measures if they do not identify themselves or obey Beijing's orders.

Mr. Abe said the measures one-sidedly impose rules set by the Chinese military on all flights in the zone, and violate the freedom to fly above open sea, a general principle under international law. He also slammed China for showing the disputed islands, called Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese, as Chinese territory in the zone.

Later Monday, Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki summoned Chinese Ambassador Cheng Yonghua to protest the move in person, a day after Saiki's deputy protested to China by phone.

In Beijing, Assistant Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang met with Japanese Ambassador Kitera Masato to complain.


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