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US concerned by China plane in Japan airspace

Published on Dec 15, 2012 6:10 AM
A handout photograph taken on a marine surveillance plane B-3837 shows the disputed islets, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, December 13, 2012. Picture taken December 13, 2012. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States on Friday voiced concern after a Chinese state-owned plane breached Japanese airspace for the first time to overfly islands at the heart of a bitter row between the two nations.

"It's important to avoid actions that raise tensions and to prevent miscalculations that could undermine peace, security and economic growth in the region," State Department acting deputy spokesman Patrick Ventrell said.

Washington had raised its concerns with Beijing, he said, adding that the United States made clear that its "policy and commitments regarding the Senkaku Islands are long-standing and have not changed." US officials had also talked to the Japanese government, he added.

Japan scrambled eight F-15 fighter jets Thursday after the first incursion by a Chinese state aircraft into Japanese airspace anywhere since Tokyo's military began monitoring in 1958, the Japanese defence ministry said.

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