The Chinese plane had already left the islands – known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan – by the time the Japanese F-15s arrived.
Japan Coast Guard 11th Regional Coast Guard/AP
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Though the Chinese plane was not a military aircraft, its presence is the latest provocation in a dispute that has affected economic relations between the two countries and comes just three days before Japanese elections.
The Chinese state maritime agency said that the marine surveillance plane was sent to patrol the disputed islands – known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan – along with four boats, according to China’s Global Times. Japanese boats also patrolling the disputed area were asked to leave immediately, in line with the Chinese government’s stance, the Global Times reports.
Japan’s defense agency dispatched eight F-15 jets in response, but the Chinese plane had already left the area by the time they arrived, according to the Associated Press. The Japanese government also issued an official complaint, however China responded that it was “carrying out a normal operation,” reports AP.
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