Let me be the first to point out that there is no way in which this could end up badly:
After repeatedly flying surveillance aircraft into disputed airspace with Japan, and Tokyo scrambling F-15s in response, China’s now sending fighters of its own on “routine flights” into the East China Sea.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman said Friday that Chinese military planes were on”routine flights” in relevant airspace over the East China Sea. Spokesman Hong Lei made the remarks at a press briefing in response to media reports that Japan sent fighter jets to head off a number of Chinese military planes spotted in Japan’s “air defense identification zone” over the East China Sea on Thursday.
“China firmly opposes Japan’s moves to gratuitously escalate the situation and create tensions,” Hong said.
The area north of the Japanese-controlled Senkaku islands, known as the Diaoyus in China, is reportedly home to billions in oil and gas deposits claimed both by Japan and China.
The Chinese jets could be flying from air base Shuimen, built east of the islands in Fujian Province. Satellite imagery of the base first came to light in 2009, but experts believe it reached completion late last year.
Accidental wars are extremely rare, but accidental “guy gets shot down in posturing-related mishap” are less rare. That said, who doesn’t like some hot F-15 on Su-30 action?