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Japan scrambles F-15s after China flies over disputed islands

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Japan Coast Guard 11th Regional Coast Guard/AP

(Read caption) In this photo, a Chinese airplane flies in Japanese airspace above the islands known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese in southwestern Japan Thursday, Dec. 13.

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• A daily summary of global reports on security issues.

The territorial standoff between China and Japan over disputed islands in the East China Sea further escalated today after a Chinese plane was spotted in what Tokyo considers its airspace.

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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