The Chinese Defense Ministry has denied allegations by Japan that a Chinese frigate recently put a radar-lock on a Japanese navy ship in the East China Sea.
Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said on February 5 that a Chinese frigate directed its weapon-targeting radar at a Japanese vessel in the international waters of the East China Sea on January 30.
Onodera also stated that on January 19 another Chinese frigate targeted a Japanese military helicopter with a similar type of radar.
The Japanese defense minister also said on Thursday that the radar-lock “may amount to a threat of military force under the UN Charter.”
On Friday, the Chinese Defense Ministry said in a statement that on both January 19 and January 30, China’s ship-board radar carried out normal operations and “fire-control radar was not used.” According to the statement, remarks made by the Japanese side were “against the facts.”
“Japan unilaterally made public untrue information to the media and senior Japanese government officials made irresponsible remarks that hyped up the so-called China threat,” the statement added.
On February 6, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the move by the Chinese frigate was “a dangerous act that could have led to an unpredictable situation.”
Japan and China have long been in a dispute over the sovereignty of the uninhabited islands, which are located near a crucial shipping lane and would give their owner exclusive oil, mineral, and fishing rights in the surrounding waters.
The disputed islands, which are controlled by Japan and form part of Okinawa prefecture, are known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
Tensions heightened between the two countries after Japan signed a deal on September 11, 2012 to buy three of the islands from their private Japanese owner in line with plans to nationalize the archipelago.