Archive for Friday, April 21, 2006

Japan reports increase in Chinese spy planes

April 21, 2006

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— Japan has scrambled fighter jets 107 times this year to intercept suspected Chinese spy planes, a top general said Thursday, amid growing concern in Tokyo over China's arms buildup.

The 107 alerts in the first three months of 2006 - the most in at least a decade - were a dramatic increase from the previous year, when fighters scrambled only 13 times against Chinese planes, said Gen. Hajime Massaki.

The bulk of the incidents took place over the East China Sea, where the two countries are feuding over gas deposits and an island chain, the military said.

Beijing rejected Tokyo's allegations.

China has a 2.5 million-member military and has announced double-digit spending increases nearly every year since the early 1990s.

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