China and Japan are on collision course again.
Beijing has decreed a new air defence zone over the East China Sea. Within its perimeter are disputed islands also claimed by Tokyo.
China says aircraft failing to identify themselves will face “emergency defensive measures”. The zone covers what it calls the Diaoyu Islands, known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan.
Insisting it was China’s right to self-defence, Chinese Defence Ministry Spokesman Yang Yujun said: “It is not directed against any specific country or target. It does not affect the freedom of flights over the airspace concerned.”
But for Tokyo it is a provocation.
Reiterating its position that Japan owns the islands, thought to be surrounded by energy-rich waters, it has lodged a protest with China.
Patrol ships from both countries have been shadowing each other in the vicinity on and off for months, raising fears of a confrontation.
There have also been incidents involving military aircraft flying close to each other.