Chinese Fighters Intercept Japanese Surveillance Planes

Two 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.

  • 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.

      • majr0d

        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.

    • 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”

  • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • anon —- round 2

    • tiger

      dream world……

  • 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..

  • 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

      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.

  • Chuckiechan Chan

    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.