Japan on Tuesday accused Chinese navy vessels of locking a weapons-targeting radar on a Japanese destroyer and helicopter amid escalating territorial disputes between the Asian powers.

Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera accused Chinese navy vessels of using the weapons radar in two incidents last month, on January 19 and January 30. He said it happened in the East China Sea, suggesting it was near disputed islands controlled by Japan but also claimed by China. He did not give an exact location.

‘Dangerous situation’

Mr. Onodera said the action could have led to a dangerous situation. Shots were not fired on either occasion.

“It is extremely abnormal to use such fire-control radar, or radar for [weapons] firing,” he told reporters in an emergency briefing. “The incident could have led to a dangerous situation in case of a misstep.”

Chinese maritime surveillance vessels have repeatedly entered Japanese-claimed waters around the islands since last September, when Japan’s government nationalised some of the islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. The purchase triggered violent protests across China.

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