China tells Japan to 'get used' to its warplanes as it flies bombers over Miyako Strait

On Thursday, the defense ministry of Japan issued a statement describing the flyover by the formation of Xian H-6 bombers.

Japan denies China's claim of 'dangerous and unprofessional conduct' by fighter jets
A Chinese military aircraft Reuters

China told Japan on Friday that it should get used to Beijing's warplanes, six of which flew over the Miyako Strait between two southern Japanese islands in a military exercise.

Late on Thursday, the defense ministry of Japan issued a statement describing the flyover by the formation of Xian H-6 bombers, also known as China's B-52, earlier that day as "unusual". It also noted that there had been no violation of Japanese airspace.

In recent months, the Chinese navy and air force have carried out a series of exercises in the Western Pacific in order to hone their ability to operate far from their home shores. According to reports, it will also help them as a trial balloon to gauge the reactions of their increasingly more nervous neighbors.

The Chinese defense ministry said that it was "legal and proper" for its military aircraft to operate in the airspace. It also added that it would continue to organize regular training exercises according to "mission requirements".

"The relevant side should not make a fuss about nothing or over-interpret, it will be fine once they get used to it," the ministry said in a statement.

However, it was not only Japan that issued a statement regarding the flyover. Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense also said on Thursday that the Chinese bombers flew just outside its air defense identification zone and that it had "closely followed" the movements.

The Miyako Strait is between Japan's islands of Miyako and Okinawa, to the northeast of self-ruled Taiwan, which China claims as its own.

Apart from these Japanese islands, China also claims nearly whole of the strategically vital waterway, despite partial counter-claims from several regional states such as the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam. About $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes each year through the disputed waterway.

The United States has criticized China for its construction of islands and build-up of military facilities there. It is concerned that they could be used to restrict free movement and extend China's strategic reach.