Chinese Fighters Intercept Japanese Surveillance Planes

NORAD, Russian Air Force make history with combined effortsTwo Chinese fighter jets flew within 50 meters of two Japanese surveillance aircraft over the East China Sea over the past weekend, according to defense officials with both countries.

Two Su-27 Chinese fighters intercepted a Japanese OP-3C surveillance plane and a YS-11EB electronic intelligence aircraft on Saturday near a string of islands in the East China Sea.

China and Japan have a dispute over the island chain because of the belief the area has vast oil resources undersea. The island chain is called the Senkaku Islands in Japanese and the Diaoyu Islands in Chinese.

In order to flex its military muscle and boost their hold on the island chain, China declared a no-fly zone over the region. The U.S. flew B-52 bombers without informing the Chinese when the no-fly zone area was declared, but later said U.S. pilots would inform China when their aircraft were in the region.

China’s intercept of the two surveillance aircraft is the first major aviation engagement since the no-fly zone was declared by China.

The Chinese state media reported that the two Su-27 fighter jets were flown out of China’s 7th Fighter Division.

About the Author

Michael Hoffman
Michael Hoffman is the executive editor at Tandem NSI and a contributor to He can be reached at
  • Virgil Cuttaway

    US consumers built up the Chinese economy and military with our vast purchases of goods. One of these days we will have to deal with the Chinese. They are beginning to flex their muscles with the Japanese already.

    • Dfens

      If China didn’t already own all of our politicians, we could put them back in their place by raising the tariffs we dropped when we gave them “most favored nation” trade status in the 1990’s. The protection of our own industrial base is the best reason why we should repeal the 16th amendment and force the federal government to go back to being funded primarily by tariffs. After all, who do you think has the better lobby with our politicians, the US taxpayer or China? We should have called the state convention to do that well before now.

      • andy

        Clinton bring China to WTO,

        • Dfens

          Ron Paul argued for China to have “most favored nation” trade status. He said, “Free trade, it should be argued, is beneficial even when done unilaterally, providing a benefit to our consumers.” ( I’ll bet a lot of those “consumers” would like to have their high paying manufacturing jobs with retirement and medical benefits back even more than they like buying cheap Chinese crap at Wal Mart.

    • tiger

      Deal with, yes. Fight, no way. They need Us & we need them. The saber rattles over rocks will continue.

      • Germany’s biggest foreign customer before WWII? France.

        Japan’s best customer during the same period? The US.

        It’s popular liberal international relations theory that strong economic relationships deter war. Unfortunately the historical record disagrees. Wishful thinking isn’t a method. War isn’t going to start tomorrow but the oft repeated line about needing each other rests on nothing but hope.

  • Jake

    What choice did consumers have ? If anybody is to blame it’s shareholders wanting maximum profit. We need to put an end to these capital management company’s that are purely driven out of greed. Not wanting to supply the market with quality products.

    • PolicyWonk

      That’s easy: consumers should tell (demand) their congressman (and other elected representatives), vendors (i.e. the store they buy stuff from), and everyone they know that they want to buy AMERICAN MADE goods, to protect AMERICAN manufacturers and AMERICAN JOBS because its a matter of US National security.

      The US National Intelligence Estimates (the combined opinions of all 16 US intelligence agencies) has classified the massive technology transfer of dual-use technologies, manufacturing techniques, and the manufacturing base to communist China – a bona national security disaster of epic proportion. Their report said that during the time period of 2002-2008 China received more technology (given away) than the USSR did in 60 years of cold war.

      And they got this massive giveaway solely in return for the short term profits of some US companies.

      • Please quote the page or provide a link to the NIE. From what I understand it wasn’t given away, It was largely stolen. There’s a difference.

        You might want to be careful citing NIE’s. I’d think you learned your lesson claiming the one that said Iran wasn’t pursuing nukes as definitive evidence. The report was eventually discredited as the opposite conclusion has been largely proven. This is the problem when you think “consensus” equals accuracy.

        • Dfens

          Here’s a story ( about how Boeing gave China B-2 technology so they could use them as a supplier for major parts of the 787. Hell, they brag about how they redid studies as a way to get around laws forbidding the transfer of the technology they gave away.

          • One has to be a simpleton to think one (or even a dozen examples) compares to the WIDESPREAD Chinese efforts directed at stealing our technology. Not excusing your monotonously cited pet villains, vendors, contractors, acquisition officials and the boogeyman.

            Just being a consistent visitor of Defense Tech would clue one in to Chinese espionage efforts and successes. Then there’s always google.

            It remains to be seen if the NIE PW refers to says what he says it said. He has a habit of mis-stating what documents and people actually say. You have to double check him and ask for quotes. He typically chokes when he gets called on his propaganda efforts.

          • Dfens

            There’s no reason to steal what has been freely given to you. How many plants have relocated from the US to China? They all have their own recipe for success, and with each plant went that recipe. It would be nice to believe that everything was stolen, and no doubt a lot was, but I very much doubt most was stolen. It’s just too much information. In many cases it is not just knowing the information, it is knowing the significance of that information that’s the real trick. That’s much of what engineering is, knowing what is and is not significant.

          • Yes, we have F22 and F35 plants in China (facepalm)

            I didn’t say everything was stolen. You may doubt the majority was stolen but you have no evidence. That’s called an uninformed opinion.

          • tiger

            Industrial Spying is done by friends & foes. China has no corner on the market.

          • Where did I say it wasn’t?

            I’m disagreeing that the majority of tech transfer to China was done on purpose.

          • Dfens

            The “majority of tech transfer” doesn’t require an F-22 to be built in China. Hell, most of the technology we use to keep this country safe was not developed by the military or any part of the government. Most of it is developed by the free market economy and adapted for military use. That’s why it is so damn stupid to give up our industries to a suck hole like China. We are literally giving them the keys to our success.

          • TODAY’s Headline…

            “China Hacking Is Deep and Diverse, Experts Say”

          • Dfens

            So did I deny that China steals information from the US? No. You said that most of the information China has obtained was stolen, not given to them. Why don’t you back up that with a link? Hell, how many Chicoms are attending our major science and engineering universities? Is that information being “stolen”. Maybe stolen from the American students who should have been admitted instead.

          • beage

            still,even though the Chinese are friendly…..
            they are still a communist state and has a huge military that copies most tech from the former soviet union,they haven’t copied anything from our military as of today,so i strongly disagree with your viewpoint.

          • You’re a gem. Policy Wonk started the premise that most tech transfer is voluntary citing the NIE but he LIES. He does this all the time. He constantly misquotes or mis-states what sources say and low info voters like you say, “Oh yeah”.

            The NIE DOESN’T say that and which is why he never replied to my request that he cite his sources that . Here’s whatthe NIE says “However, we assess that economic cyber espionage will probably allow the actors who take this information to reap unfair gains in some industries.” p2

            So there’s your evidence. Where’s yours?

          • Dfens

            Ok, I see the disconnect. If you re-read what Policy Wonk posted, he states, “Their [NIE] report said that during the time period of 2002-2008 China received more technology (given away) than the USSR did in 60 years of cold war.” So his point was not that China got more data given to them than they swiped, but that they got more given to them than the USSR got over a longer period of time. That’s why I brought up my Boeing article, not as a means of proving the amount of data they got one way versus another.

            Now I suspect they get more data given to them then they steal, just mainly due to the practicality of it. Usually to steal some data of value, you have to have the rest of the pieces in place to act on that data. For instance, it wouldn’t do any good to steal the formula for Coke if you didn’t have a plant to produce and bottle soft drinks. That”s only my suspicion, though.

          • jacob

            they aren ‘t copying our F-35 and F-22 airframes,so why does it matter,the PLAAF doesnt make the rules,nor does that matter.

    • joe

      blaming consumer choice on shareholders is like blaming a crack baby for its moms habit.

      • Boomer

        In the Vietnam war there was a saying…. “Bombing for peace is like f##cking for virginity”

        • Dfens

          And yet the only time there were any serious discussions of peace came when we were bombing the hell out of North Vietnam. Maybe that’s not such a good saying. None the less, people should not have to pay more to “buy American” to look out for this nation’s strategic interests. All that does is rewards people who aren’t patriotic. We have tariffs for exactly this reason. It’s about time we started electing “representatives” who answered to their US constituents instead of the f’ing Chicoms.

  • Nico

    It’s not a No Fly Zone, it’s an “Air Defense Identification Zone” or something like that, meaning that they want planes to ask/warn/identify themselves before entering.

    US, Japan and Korea send military planes without warning but the US advised civilian airlines to comply with the chinese “demand”.

  • BlackOwl18E

    The price of weakness is high. I don’t like many politicians, but I would like to draw attention to Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a former US Air Force pilot now congressman. He said it best when describing the results of our current Presidential Administration’s leadership: “Our enemies no longer fear us and our allies no longer trust us.”

    Right now the Chinese are much more aggressive since they see the US as indecisive and lacking strong leadership. The Japanese are starting to feel insecure about the idea of relying entirely on the US for their defense so they need to show that they are ready for a fight at a moment’s notice in order to get the Chinese to back down. The results speak for themselves.

    • orly?


      Russia’s been doing this since 2001, February 2008 was one of the last Russian ones.

      Both times with possible NUKES.

      Who’s fault was it then?

      • BlackOwl18E

        That’s just my point. This is nothing new for Russia, but since when have the Chinese last been this bold? This is also unusual behavior for Japan.

        • spec

          What year was it when a J-8 collided with a US spy plane near China’s Hainan Island?

          What year was it when the Chinese PVA beat the crap out of McArthur’s troops in N.Korea and forced the largest military retreat in US history, plus a Truman proclamation of National Emergency?

        • toady

          Since 2001 when they unlawfully confiscated an EP-3 took the crew as prisoners at Hianan island after a Chinese fighter collided with it… and ever since the 1970s with Tiawan when the could field a missile with a warhead capable of hitting an island and pointed it at it… and ever since they annexed Tibet from monks… and ever since they invaded into South Korea through North Korea in the Korean war and fought UN troops… and ever since the mongol hordes and hannibal and really since there was a Chinese people.

          China has always been trying to exert its influence in the region. Now it has the cash, the Navy, and it wants the underwater oil.

          As for Japan, its only unusual if you look post-1945 when they have been a military protectorate of the US. If you look at any period of history before 1945…. very usual behavior.

          • BlackOwl18E

            I think those actions differ to a certain point. Tibet was not really going to be all that much of a fight for China and they knew it. The EP-3 crew was actually us intruding into their territory and them reacting, with the Chinese pilot accidentally colliding with it. That’s not bold at all. That’s them taking advantage of a bad situation. The advanced range of their missiles covering Taiwan was simply inevitable with the advances in technology. Don’t confuse technological advancement with boldness.

            The fight for North Korea was done with a different leader at time when the Chinese felt like they had the USSR on their side. Totally changes things.

            While it is true that China has been always trying to exert its influence over the region, this is the first time they seem willing to challenge nearly all of the other claims to territory at the same time BY THEMSELVES. The establishment of the ADIZ, although its execution was carried out terribly, proves that. Now sending fighters out to escort our aircraft in those controversially claimed territories is slowly escalating things. Make no mistake, the Chinese are getting bolder and this shows that they feel less challenged by us.

            As for Japan, if you say them resorting back to WWII policy is something normal and healthy, then I have a bridge to sell you!

          • orly?

            Why the hate for Japan?

          • tiger

            That is owl being owl….

      • andy


    • ronaldo el gusto

      Our demonstrated loony tunes foreign policy confuses our allies more than anything else. The invasion of Iraq is a clear example of how easily the American public can be convinced of bad policy.

      Fortunately there are some bright spots, such as the territorial squabble currently going on the South China Sea and we are resisting the temptation to get suckered in by the Phillipine, Japanese and Vietnamese governments. They have legitimate complaints but American forces are not the answer, much as they would like to involve the US and have us take the lead.

      BTW, territorial disputes are not the same as violations of national sovereignty and all parties know it, hence the Chinese see some daylight and will try to maximize it.

      I sure hope that our guarantee of protection under the US nuclear umbrella does not include these territorial issue.

      • Bob

        Wow! Talk about showing your anti-Semitic feathers! Shame on you!

        • winnilian

          Ahahah America land of freedom. Post already deleted.


          You can Continue sleeping.

    • glenn57377

      The US has huge military resources and bases in Japan. Of course, we have agreements with Japan for protection, however, a military attack on Japan would be an attack on the US. Same for South Korea. Our forces are the trigger that worries China and Russia. Russia doesn’t have a valid interest in Japan and Korea….and probably could not sustain a war in the region. China, on the other hand, is an economic giant today. I’m not sure they will stir the beans too rapidly…….why work so hard to have the economy they have today and risk it all by being stupid with the West. We are their market…….and are no pushovers. I think they will remain pesky, but not stupid.

  • BlackOwl18E

    Odd thought: Why is there a Soviet Su-27 for the picture of this article? Shouldn’t it be a Chinese Su-27 to be more appropriate?

    • Chimp

      The national insignia is a fairly obvious photoshop, not to mention completely wrong. The camo is Russian pattern.

      • BlackOwl18E

        Couldn’t they have at least used photoshop to to put the PLAAF insignia on it?

        • beage

          all of you are wrong,the Chinese copy soviet designs then produce it,that’s why most PLAAF units look like soviet designs.

          • BlackOwl18E

            We know that. No one here said anything otherwise. We’re just wondering why they didn’t provide one of the PLAAF Su-27’s for the photo of the article.

          • Jacob

            Maybe the writers we’re denied acess to any PLAAF regiments that have SU-27’s,then the soviets cough one up and that”‘s that.

    • Godzilla

      Yes that is Russian insignia. The PLAAF insignia use yellow and red plus a yellow and red ribbon. The PLANAF also operates the Su-27.

      The 7th Fighter Division is based in the Beijing Military Region and operates the J-11 Chinese copy of the Su-27.

  • hibeam

    The best defense against Chinese fighters is propellers.

    • Dfens

      Red Tails

      • Jacob

        That’s bullshit,the propellers will be destroyed,you need the likes of an A-10 with AAM’s to shoot down one SU-27

  • PolicyWonk

    It seems that the Japanese will have to start sending JAF escorts along with their surveillance aircraft, lest they invite another incident similar to the one the US had in 2001.

    And that something they should put a high priority on.

    • Bob

      I agree! Japan is a very modern military power, although it still refers to its military as a defense force. Its navy is quite capable and fashioned after our navy. In fact, except for the obvious cultural differences, the Japanese uniforms and combat vessels are strikingly similar to the US Navy. But maybe that’s because we trained them and supplied them with modern US warships. I believe China is making a serious mistake in its attempt to intimidate Japan.

      • blight_


        Kongo and Atago are modified Burkes, sure, but they’re building them on their own. The Hyuga has no basis on anything we have. We are not “supplying” them with those warships.

        Fundamentally, they use American Aegis mixed with Japanese electronics. They make local versions of some of our ships and some of our aircraft.

        In terms of expenditures, they are fifth in the world.

        • tiger

          Speaking of supply…. Japan & Australia are talking submarine deals this week.

          • blight_

            Doesn’t surprise me. Collins is toast.

  • sam

    China and Russia r doing all this muscle flexing because we have a pussy for a President. Simple.

    • glenn57377

      The President does appear to be weak, however, Russia and China know we are coming out of Iraq and Afghanistan and are weary of kicking ass. All of us are weary and are not apt to lust after more confrontation anytime soon. Sort of like right after Vietnam. Of course the NV knew that once we left we would never return. Iraq and Afghanistan were fought correctly……and our technology and quality of warrior are known to be world class. We are tired…….but I feel very confident we are not willing to let the Western world go to hell because of some fatigue. The American people only need a REASON to get pissed……and we will be all over anyone like a swarm of bees. Right now….we have not been seriously provoked.

      • Dfens

        20 B-2 bombers and 177 F-22’s is not exactly what I’d call a “swarm”.

        • glenn57377

          Ten M&M’s does not equal a bag, either. Have you ever enumerated the US arsenal contained with all services, active and reserve? You have no idea. The numbers are huge and does not take into account any foreign forces. The US is THE most powerful and capable military force on Earth……and our factories are not cranking out for full war like they did in WWII. Combine all the conventional capabilities with the triad…….nuclear bombers, subs and missiles……and you have a heck of a force. Why did you communicate a fraction of our arsenal? Are you not aware of the other capabilities we have, such as electronic countermeasures that are on-scene and playing havoc with enemy radars and homing capabilities? I would go on and on……but I’m not sure it would do you any good. Not sure why you pointed out only a fraction of our forces and capabilities.

      • Rob

        Our might in Iraq & Afghanistan is/was only a % of what NATO is really capable of. Navy and tanks barely had use. Our air force only met limited ground based resistance and no mid-air dogfights. Then instead of sweeps and conquering, we play policemen & do random patrols & little missions. We hoard inside of bases instead of forming defensive lines along the porous border. We even let our enemies escape across mountains.

    • tiger

      You get what you vote for….

  • Duke

    Our CinC can barely count to potato, ’nuff said.

  • joe

    So china wants to control airspace near its shores. machts nichts. All this nonsense china fear mongering is a waste. we have a big ol ocean and nukes. If the chinese start playing salami tactics we match them. There is no need to further increase the incirclement of china. Waste of money. Best if we kept tax dollars in our pockets. lord knows our military and security apparatus needs some trimming.

  • conradswims

    The PLA is going to go to far soon and the gloves will come off. South Korea, Japan, Vietnam and the P. I. with a little help from their friends will kick the c**p out of the PLA and things will quiet down for a decade. Till the next time.

  • deane

    This keep up and there is going to be a clash for sure and guess how has to go in to stop it!!!

  • Chris

    Think I will look at the movie, “The Bedford Incident” tonight…….. Boys are playing real close….

  • gkm

    We have lost all our credeibility with our european and asian allies.Obama is one of the biggest cowards we have ever had in the white house. the next round of elections can’t come fast enough..

    • retired462

      Depends on who gets in.
      Hope we don’t make the same mistake again!
      Nationalize all Chinese assets now!

      • Dfens

        Do that and China will dump a trillion dollars from their US cash reserves onto the international money markets and make the US dollar officially worth what we all know it is really worth right now, which is absolutely nothing.

  • Curt

    First, an Air Defense Identification Zone is not a no-fly zone.

    But lets see, the Japanese flew aircraft peacefully into international airspace where they were peacefully intercepted by Chinese aircraft. By all accounts, all actions were IAW international law and followed the general practice of good airmanship. And this is news why?

    • jwb

      It is news because China is attempting to establish sovereignty. One aspect is this first intercept. The US challenged the ADIZ for the very reason of keeping the airspace open. An ADIZ implies no-fly without permission, which China is now signalling they will enforce, regardless of international law.

      • valbonne

        Who can establish ADIZ? Is this ADIZ can only be approved by USA & Japan, and also under both of these countries national law or their “Rule of Law”???
        Please comment!!

        • tiger

          Every nation has controlled air space & territorial sea limits by international law. The issue here is where the lines get drawn.

    • valbonne

      Japanese have established their ADIZ since 1960s and have been intercepting both Russian & Chinese airplanes averaging 300 times a year since then.

  • Alex Murphy

    Cold War 2! I missed most of the first one. Now I want to know what all the fuss was about. Hopefully nothing as serious as Cuban Missile Crisis will occur! Or Cold War 2 might turn into World War 3!!!!!

  • JJ Murray

    Well Japan, perhaps it’s time for you to change your Constitution and leave your “Self Defense Force” behind so you can actually build a military before China decides to jump on you.

    • tiger

      The JSDF is a military. 3 biggest in ASIA behind China & the USA.

  • Rob

    May want to try negotiate shared use of some of this territory. Both China and Russia are building to confront USA militarily within next 10 years. Together. Blind not to see otherwise. Leaders must know already as many troops from my area are now being moved to the Pacific region.

  • rick

    Shoot, id just say to china and japan, none of you can have that island now, it now belongs to NATO. You guys can not seem to possibly solve this peacefully. Now the world well, NATO, will take action.

    • Jacob

      NATO,is the north ATLANTIC treaty organization,they have not power out from the northern Atlantic ocean,at most they will say it is a UN free state.

    • rsmossutah

      NATO take action? Are you kidding me? They hide behind the US and rarely venture out to do anything on their own – with the probable exception of France.

  • A major long term goal of China is to eliminate competitive trade with the countries it can dominate. By isolating them, they will have no choice but to buy from China.

    The smartest thing the USA can do is start hitting China in the wallet. Start levying punitive tariffs on products made with stolen technology produced by the companies run by the persons who the Justice Dept indicted.

    The indictments are not as silly as they sound. When we finally get a real president, he can use this new power to define exactly what these individuals stole, and to put a punitive tariff on those products, or make them do something very “un-Chinese” – by a license.

    Give the fact they have stolen nearly everything, I’d say this is a “Target rich environment”!

    When exports fall, and jobs are lost the itshay will it the fan over there.

  • Zspoiler

    The next time this happens I wouldn`t be surprised that they have a fighter escort..Then let see what happens

    • beage

      mostly if that happens it will become a air battle over either the south/north china sea or the coast of japan,will result of our wings of F-15’s and F-16’s based in South Korea enforcing a no fly zone of the Chinese PLAAF or the JSDF,this will result in a heated time period until diplomatic relations are restored.