- - Thursday, February 14, 2013

After days of silence, the Chinese government went public with a comment on Japan’s protest over a Chinese navy missile frigate that twice beamed its targeting radar on a Japanese helicopter and a Japanese destroyer last month.

Chinese officials just blamed Japan for increasing tension between the two countries over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

“The Japanese are deliberately ratcheting up the crisis, creating tensions and tarnishing China’s image,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Feb. 7. “What the Japanese are doing is on the opposite track of making efforts to improve our bilateral relationship.”

The next day, China’s Defense Ministry issued a statement directly calling Japan a liar.

China hopes that Japan takes effective measures to stop stirring up tension in the East China Sea and making irresponsible remarks,” the statement said.

Ms. Hua added, “Relevant organs of the Chinese side have released to the public the true fact about Japan’s false claim that a Chinese naval ship’s fire-control radar was aimed at a Japanese ship and aircraft. The story from the Japanese side is completely baseless.”

However, Ms. Hua failed to mention where people could find those “facts,” and no public record of those facts could be found.

On Feb. 5, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters that a Chinese naval frigate on Jan. 30 locked its fire-control radar on a patrolling Japanese destroyer near the Senkaku islands, which both nations claim.

He added that another Chinese frigate locked on a Japanese military helicopter Jan. 19. In military terms, such radar lock-ons are considered hostile actions.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe issued a diplomatic protest against China, calling the Chinese military reckless and irresponsible. Mr. Abe further proposed setting up a hotline between the two governments to avoid accidental firings that could escalate into combat.

China’s state media recently stepped up a propaganda war against Japan over the incident, accusing Tokyo of playing “petty tricks.”

The Japanese government flatly rejected China’s accusation and promised to release technical data on the incident, as long as no military secrets would be revealed on the methods used by Japan to detect the Chinese radar beams.

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said the Chinese explanation “does not conform to the facts and is completely unacceptable, and I have responded to them as such.”


Last February, Lt. Gen. Gu Junshan, deputy chief of the Chinese military’s General Logistics Department, was removed from duty and has since disappeared from the public scene. At the time, no explanation was given for Gen. Gu’s dismissal.

Story Continues →