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Tokyo does not own the Sea of Japan, China's air force chief says

From Reuters - August 10, 2017

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's air force chief defended military maneuvers in the Sea of Japan, saying the waters did not belong to Tokyo, after a Japanese defense review warned of increasing Chinese military activity there.

Japan worries that China's probing of its air defenses is part of a push to extend its military influence in the East China Sea and western Pacific, where Japan controls an island chain stretching 1,400 km (870 miles) south toward Taiwan.

In an annual defense white paper released on Tuesday, Japan said the number of its jet scrambles against Chinese aircraft hit a record in the year to March 2017.

It warned that Chinese naval and air force activities in the Sea of Japan could pick up pace.

"The Sea of Japan is not Japan's sea," People's Liberation Army Air Force Commander Ma Xiaotian said on Thursday, in response to a question at a military event in the northeastern city of Changchun.

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