Two Russian patrol planes were detected over the East China Sea on the same day a Chinese electronic surveillance aircraft was spotted near the disputed Diaoyutai (Diaoyu or Senkaku) island airspace on Nov. 16, reports China's Global Times.
The Chinese Tu-154MD surveillance plane first flew to South Korea's Jeju island from northeastern China and then changed direction towards the disputed island territory, reported the Tokyo-based Yomiuri Shimbun. After it was detected by Japan's Self-Defense Force about 200km north of the disputed islands, it turned westward and returned home. As China claims the island territory — also claimed by Taiwan and administered by Japan — the PLA sees no issue sending its planes and vessels to the area.
That same day, two Russian Tu-142 aircraft flew into a Japanese air defense identification zone near Okinawa, according to a report provided by the Japanese defense ministry cited news agency Kyodo. The aircraft flew southward over the Sea of Okhotsk between the Kamchatka peninsula and the Kuril islands, the southernmost of which are contested.
F-15J fighters from Japan were ordered to intercept the Russian aircraft, but the Tu-142 did not enter Japanese airspace.
A second Tu-154 from the PLA Air Force was detected 150km from the Diaoyutai after the first one had returned to the Chinese mainland, said the Kyodo report.
The report surmised that the aircraft from the two planes were trying to gather intelligence on Japan's Type 88 anti-ship missiles, which were being employed during a military exercise on Miyako island between Nov. 1-18.http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?cid=1101&MainCatID=11&id=20131121000006