Tag Archives: Asia

2 ISIS-inspired women arrested for bomb plot in NYC

Federal agents in the United States have arrested two women who allegedly planned to detonate a bomb in New York City after becoming radicalized by the self-styled Islamic State.

US citizens Noelle Velentzas, 28, and Asia Siddiqui, 31 were arrested early Thursday in New York and each charged with conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction resulting from a multi-year undercover operation waged by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. If convicted, they each face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

According to the FBI, Velentzas and Siddiqui had been researching instructions on how to make homemade bombs and were considering detonating one inside the US as part of a domestic terrorist attack.

“The defendants allegedly plotted to wreak terror by creating explosive devices and even researching the pressure cooker bombs used during the Boston Marathon bombing,” Diego Rodriguez, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office, said in a statement Thursday. “We continue to pursue those who look to commit acts of terror and deter others who think they are beyond the reach of law enforcement.”

The FBI had been investigating the pair since at least May 2013, according to a sworn affidavit used to justify the arrests of the women this week, and began collecting intelligence on the two beginning in August 2014 when Velentzas and Siddiqui started conversing with an undercover agent. Together, the three traded recipes for explosives taken from online articles, studied chemistry textbooks and discussed past acts of terror, according to the FBI, and were weighing an attack of their own. The agency claims the public was never in danger.

All three met regularly from Aug. 2014 up until recently, according to the complaint, and Velentzas acknowledged to the undercover agent in one tape recorded conversation that the trio, in the eyes of federal authorities, “look like a cell.”

Court documents suggest the defendants had shared a Queens, NY apartment, but Siddiqui reportedly moved out recently and, according to the affidavit, had begun acquiring the ingredients needed to make an improvised explosive inside her new residence. She was “currently in possession of multiple propane gas tanks, as well as instructions for how to transform propane tanks into explosive devices,” as of Wednesday this week when the affidavit was filed in support of the arrests conducted early the next day.

Authorities say that Siddiqui become friends in 2009 with Samir Khan, an influential Al Qaeda member who has since been executed by a US-launched drone strike, and allege that she wrote a letter in 2011 to Mohamed Mohamud, a Somali-American man currently serving a 30-year prison for a failed Portland, Oregon car bomb plot.

On her part, Velentzas, her ex-roommate, considered former Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to be a personal “hero,” according to authorities, and had discussed becoming a martyr to “receive Allah’s blessing.” She was “Facebook friends” with Tairod Pugh, a US Air Force vet currently under indictment for attempting to provide material support to the so-called Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, and had confided in the undercover agent that she had been disgusted with the US, according to authorities.

READ MORE: FBI accuses Air Force vet of planning to join ISIS

The complaint unsealed this week alleges that the two women have espoused violent jihadist beliefs, according to the results thus far of the FBI’s lengthy investigation, and have repeatedly expressed interest in terrorist attacking committed within the US, perhaps more so in recent months amid the emergence ISIS. Velentzas told the undercover agent in one conversation that “attacks on ISIS were tantamount to attacks on her own state,” according to the complaint, and together the two watched videos of beheadings carried out by the extremist group.

When Pugh was arrested last month and accused of plotting a trip to Syria to join the ranks of ISIS, according to the complaint, Velentzas told the agent that there were more opportunities of “pleasing Allah” in the US than overseas, in her opinion.

“Identifying and disrupting such threats to public safety, whether at home or abroad, is the number one priority of the National Security Division and our partners in the law enforcement and intelligence communities,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin said in a statement.

Last week, the FBI announced that two men had been arrested in Illinois and charged with conspiring to attack the US from overseas on behalf of ISIS. One of the men, a current member of the Illinois National Guard, was arrested last Wednesday at Chicago’s Midway International Airport while attempting to board a flight destined to Cairo. There, authorities say, he hoped to travel to Syria and join up with the extremist group.

A New York Police Department official confirmed to CBS News that the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force made the arrests Thursday morning with the help of the NYPD. Velentzas and Siddiqui were expected to appear in court later in the afternoon.

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BREAKING NEWS – Pakistan’s Karachi airport under attack

File Photo: Pakistani policemen cordon the airport in Karachi.

File Photo: Pakistani policemen cordon the airport in Karachi.

Gunmen attacked a cargo and VIP area of Karachi‘s international airport late on Sunday night, engaging in a heavy firefight with security forces and killing at least four of them, Pakistani security officials said.

The officials said that at least eight attackers were involved, and that the fighting was continuing early on Monday morning.

Security forces sealed off the airport, and flights began being diverted away from Karachi within minutes of the fighting. Witnesses saw smoke rising from the airport’s old terminal, and one Pakistani news channel aired footage of at least one plane on fire nearby.

Senior police official Rao Muhammad Anwar says the militants are armed with automatic weapons and grenades and exchanging gunfire with security officials.

 

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Russia-China ties at highest level in history – Putin

Russia-China cooperation has reached its highest level ever, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said in an interview with Chinese media on the eve of his visit to Shanghai, where a record package of documents is expected to be signed by the two nations.

Below is the full transcript of the Russian president’s interview with Chinese Central Television, Xinhua news agency, China News Service, The People’s Daily, China Radio International, and Phoenix Television.

Question: What are your expectations concerning the upcoming visit to China? What results do you expect from the Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia in Shanghai?

Vladimir Putin: I am always happy to visit hospitable China. It is a pleasure to see how our neighbour is transforming right before our eyes. Shanghai is a vivid illustration of this.

Establishing closer ties with the People’s Republic of China – our trusted friend – is Russia’s unconditional foreign policy priority.

Now Russia-China cooperation is advancing to a new stage of comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction. It would not be wrong to say that it has reached the highest level in all its centuries-long history.

I am looking forward to a new meeting with President of China Xi Jinping, with whom I have good working and personal relations. We will discuss how previous agreements are being implemented and outline new objectives for the future. I am sure that the upcoming talks will give a powerful impetus to further strengthening of bilateral cooperation in all areas and deeper coordination in the international arena. The summit’s results and future plans will be reflected in the Joint Statement by the Heads of State and a strong package of documents expected to be signed during the visit.

Russia and China have actively advocated establishing a new security and sustainable development architecture in the Asia-Pacific. It should be based on the principles of equality, respect for international law, indivisibility of security, non-use of force or threat of force. Today this task is becoming increasingly important. The forthcoming Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) serves to contribute to addressing this task.

CICA is a well-established cooperation mechanism. It has been successfully working in such spheres as security, new challenges and threats, economy, environmental protection and humanitarian issues, all of which are important for the region.

Russia has taken an active part in CICA’s activities. In mid-April 2014, members of the Conference approved the Statute of the CICA Business Council sponsored by Russia. I am confident that the launch of the Council will enhance practical ties between business communities of the Asian countries.

At the upcoming summit, the Secretariats of CICA and SCO are expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding. That would serve as another step towards shaping a framework of partnerships between this region’s organisations and forums.

Q: China is consistently making progress towards the “Chinese dream”, i.e. a great national rebirth. Russia has also set a goal of restoring a powerful state. How, in your opinion, could our countries interact and help each other in fulfilling these tasks? What areas can be prioritised in this regard?

VP: Promotion of friendly and good-neighbourly partnership relations is fully consistent with the interests of both Russia and China. We do not have any political issues left which could impede the enhancement of our comprehensive cooperation.

Through joint efforts, we have established a truly exemplary collaboration, which should become a model for major world powers.

It is based on respect for the fundamental interests of each other and efficient work for the benefit of the peoples of our two countries.

Russia and China successfully cooperate in the international arena and closely coordinate their steps to address international challenges and crises. Our positions on the main global and regional issues are similar or even identical.

It is encouraging that both sides are willing to further deepen their cooperation. Both Moscow and Beijing are well aware that our countries have not exhausted their potentials. We have a way to go. The priority areas of collaboration at the current stage include the expansion of economic ties and cooperation in science and high-technology sector. Such pooling of capacities is very helpful in fulfilling the tasks of domestic development of our countries.

Q: Cooperation between China and Russia has been steadily increasing, but uncertainties in global economy persist. The emerging markets are faced with new challenges and slowdown of economic growth. How can our two countries help each other to counter these challenges? How can we ensure steady increase of mutual trade and reciprocal investments?

VP: In the context of turbulent global economy, the strengthening of mutually beneficial trade and economic ties, as well as the increase of investment flows between Russia and China are of paramount importance. This is not just a crucial element of socioeconomic development of our countries, but a contribution to the efforts aimed at stabilising the entire global market.

Today, Russia firmly places China at the top of its foreign trade partners.

In 2013, the volume of bilateral trade was close to $90 billion, which is far from being the limit. We will try to increase trade turnover to $100 billion by 2015 and up to $200 billion by 2020.

Our countries successfully cooperate in the energy sector. We steadily move towards the establishment of a strategic energy alliance. A large‑scale project worth over $60 billion is underway to supply China with crude oil via the Skovorodino-Mohe pipeline.

The arrangements on export of Russian natural gas to China have been nearly finalised. Their implementation will help Russia to diversify pipeline routes for natural gas supply, and our Chinese partners to alleviate the concerns related to energy deficit and environmental security through the use of “clean” fuel.

At the same time, we are working actively to reduce dependence of bilateral trade on external market conditions. Therefore, in order to develop trade and economic cooperation we pay particular attention to the breakthrough areas such as higher energy efficiency, environmental protection, production of drugs and medical equipment, developing new information technologies, as well as nuclear energy and outer space.

We implement a list of joint projects in 40 priority areas with total investments of about $20 billion.

These areas include civil aircraft industry. An agreement has been reached on joint design of a wide-body long-range aircraft. In the future we will develop a heavy helicopter. I am sure that our companies can manufacture and supply competitive products to the world markets.

We also intend to actively develop investment cooperation, the scope of which obviously does not meet real capacities and needs of our countries yet. We have examples of successful projects. I would like to note the participation of Chinese capital in the reconstruction of an airport in the Kaluga Region and building of plants for production of automotive parts and construction materials in that Russian constituent entity.

To our mind, there are many other promising areas for investments. We can point to different branches of machine engineering, processing of agricultural products, mining operations, and development of transport and energy infrastructure.

We must also strengthen financial cooperation and protect ourselves from exchange-rate fluctuations among the world’s major currencies. Therefore, we are now considering how to increase mutual settlements in national currencies.

Q: Russia has recently announced the creation of a special economic zone in Vladivostok. What could, in your view, be the role of China in its creation and in the development of the Russian Far East as a whole?

VP: Accelerated socioeconomic development of Siberia and the Far East is one of Russia’s key national priorities for the 21st century. We are now implementing a whole package of programmes to modernise and upgrade transport, energy and social infrastructure in these regions.

We are aiming at the creation of special areas of advanced economic development with an investment-friendly environment.

Competitive conditions for launching export-oriented enterprises in non-primary sectors have been created.

In the areas of advanced development, new companies will enjoy some substantial benefits. These are tax holidays with respect to a number of taxes and reduced insurance premium rates; liberalisation of the customs regime, including free customs zones; special rules for access to land and for connecting to infrastructure facilities.

Today, the relevant federal law is being finalised. Development institutions are being created and promising centres are being selected. One of them will probably be established in Vladivostok on Russky Island where the APEC 2012 Summit took place.

Obviously, we are interested in Chinese businessmen making use of these opportunities and becoming one of the leaders here, since both Russia and China will benefit from an accelerated development of the Russian Far East.

It is important not to limit our relations to trade. It is essential to establish strong technological and industrial alliances; attract investments to the infrastructure and energy sectors; to jointly promote scientific research and humanitarian contacts; lay a solid foundation for a sustainable long-term development of our trade and economic relations. And the Russian Far East can and must become a natural venue for the said efforts.

Q: How would you rate the present level of cooperation between our countries in the humanitarian sphere and its prospects? Which projects within the framework of reciprocal theme years (national, language, tourism, youth exchanges) have impressed you most?

VP: The humanitarian contacts between Russia and China are in keeping with the steady development of the whole complex of strategic partnership relations between our countries. At the moment, their level is as high as never before. The major projects of national, language and tourism theme years in which millions of our citizens participated, have played a significant role in that.

It is noteworthy that a number of events are now being carried out on a regular basis. These are festivals of culture, film weeks, youth sports games, student festivals, camps for schoolchildren and students, fora for university principals, exhibitions of educational services and many other events.

An intergovernmental project of the Russia-China Youth Friendly Exchanges Years planned for 2014–2015 was launched this March. The performance of the recently created Russian-Chinese philharmonic youth orchestra, headed by the artistic director and principal conductor of the Mariinsky Theatre Valery Gergiev, has become a highlight of the theme years’ launch in St Petersburg.

Of course, we are not going to settle down. The mutual interest of youth in history, culture and traditions of the peoples of China and Russia is increasing. It is an objective process, and we are committed to fully supporting it in the future.

Q: In 2015, our countries will celebrate the 70th anniversary of Victory over fascism. What is the impact of joint Russian-Chinese efforts to oppose the attempts aimed at challenging the results of World War II?

VP: It is true that the attempts to rewrite and distort history are becoming more frequent.

Four years ago Russia and China adopted a Joint Statement on the 65th Anniversary of Victory in the Second World War.

We share an idea that it is unacceptable to revise the results of the war, as the consequences will be extremely grave.

It is clearly evident from the tragic events currently unfolding in Ukraine, where violent neo-Nazis are waging a real campaign of terror against civilians.

I would like to express my gratitude to our Chinese friends for cherishing the memory of thousands of our compatriots, who sacrificed their lives to liberate Northeast China from invaders.

Next year we will hold a range of joint events to mark the 70th anniversary of Victory both in the bilateral and the SCO format. During these events, youth will be in the focus of our work.

We will certainly continue to oppose attempts to falsify history, heroize fascists and their accomplices, blacken the memory and reputation of heroic liberators.

 

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Vladimir Putin is to make an official visit to China

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On May 20, Vladimir Putin will pay an official visit to the People’s Republic of China at the invitation of President Xi Jinping.

In the course of talks in Shanghai, the two leaders will discuss issues of bilateral cooperation. A number of important documents are being prepared for the visit, covering trade, economic, energy and humanitarian areas.

The parties are to consider the current state of cooperation between Russia and China on the international arena and prospects for its development. The visit is to bring these relations to a new stage of overall partnership and strategic cooperation.

On May 21, the President of Russia will take part in the Fourth Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) dedicated to improving dialogue and coordination for a new, peaceful and stable Asia. The summit will also consider CICA evolution prospects.

During his stay in Shanghai Vladimir Putin will hold a number of bilateral meetings with CICA summit participants.

via President of Russia.

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Chinese cup auctioned for record-breaking $36M

HONG KONG (AP) — A Shanghai collector bought a rare Ming Dynasty cup that’s touted as the “holy grail” of China’s art world for $36 million at a Hong Kong auction on Tuesday, smashing the previous world record price for Chinese porcelain.

Sotheby‘s said Liu Yiqian was the winning bidder for the small white cup, which measures just 8 centimeters (3.1 Inches) in diameter and is more than 500 years old. The vessel is known as a “chicken cup” because it’s decorated with a rooster and hen tending to their chicks.

It was made during the reign of the Ming Dynasty’s Chenghua Emperor, who ruled from 1465 to 1487. Sotheby’s said there are only 17 such cups in existence, with four in private hands and the rest in museums.

“There’s no more legendary object in the history of Chinese porcelain,” said Nicholas Chow, Sotheby’s deputy chairman for Asia. “This is really the holy grail when it comes to Chinese art.”

For such a prized item, bidding was limited to a handful of wealthy collectors and when the winning bid was hammered down at HK$250 million ($32.2 million), the standing-room only crowd broke into applause. The auction house’s commission brought the total to HK$281.2 million ($36.1 million). A pre-sale estimate had estimated a maximum sale price of HK$300 million.

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Sotheby’s said the previous record for Chinese porcelain was set in 2010 when a gourd-shaped Qianlong vase sold for $32.4 million.

It’s the latest of several records set at the auction house’s Hong Kong spring sales, indicating that the region’s super-rich are still spending despite fluctuating economic growth. At Sunday’s sale of modern and contemporary Asian art, Asian collectors bought nine of the top 10 priciest lots.

“Definitely the mood in Hong Kong at this moment, in Asia, is buoyant,” said Chow.

Chow said the cup would likely go on display in Liu’s Long Museum in Shanghai, which he and his wife, Wang Wei, opened in 2012.

Liu is a middle-school dropout who drove a cab before becoming a multimillionaire. Forbes estimates his fortune at $900 million, making him the 200th richest person in China.

via Chinese cup auctioned for record-breaking $36M – Yahoo News.

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Breaking news – Ukraine wants to quit CIS, impose ‘demilitarized zone’ in Crimea

Members of a "Maidan" self-defense unit stand guard in front of a Ukrainian parliament building in Kiev March 17, 2014.

Members of a “Maidan” self-defense unit stand guard in front of a Ukrainian parliament building in Kiev March 17, 2014.

Ukraine ready to quit CIS, sets visa regime with Russia, asks UN to turn Crimea into DMZ

DETAILS TO FOLLOW

The interim government in Kiev says Ukraine will leave the commonwealth of post-Soviet states and force Russians to apply for entry visas, and plans to ask the United Nations to make Crimea a demilitarized zone.

The raft of measures – a response to Russia’s incorporation of Crimea into its territory following Sunday’s referendum – was announced by National Security and Defense Council chief Andrey Parubiy during a press briefing in Kiev.

The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) was founded to maintain economic and security links between former Soviet republics when they became independent states in 1991. It initially included the 12 non-Baltic countries, though Georgia quit after the Ossetian conflict in 2008.

This year, Ukraine was assigned the rotating leadership of the CIS – which is more akin to the formal British Commonwealth than the fully-fledged economic partnership of the EU – but now says it will not carry out its duties.

We have decided not only to give up the presidency, but to launch the process of quitting the union altogether,” Parubiy told journalists in Kiev.

Parubiy added that Ukraine would appeal to the UN to turn Crimea into a demilitarized zone.

Similar UN-mandated zones exist between North and South Korea, and Turkish and Greek Cyprus, as well as in several territories adjacent to Israel.

Ukraine will also introduce a visa regime for Russians, who have not only been allowed to move freely between Ukraine and their homeland since the collapse of the Soviet Union, but could do so with only their internal identification documents.

In the coming hours we will introduce a mechanism so that only Russians with travel passports can enter the country, until such a moment when formal visas can be issued,” said Parubiy, who stated that his department had issued the Foreign Ministry with “requests to implement these measures as soon as is feasible.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has said that it will not issue a visa regime of its own until it learns what changes have been proposed by Kiev, sources in the Foreign Ministry told RIA Novosti.

Ukrainian border guards have turned back Russian citizens in recent weeks due to ostensible concerns that they will participate in anti-government protests in the east of the country. Parubiy also claimed that Russia was contemplating a “full-scale invasion” of Russian-speaking regions.

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Missing Malaysia plane ‘may have turned back’

Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the names of the passengers were being investigated

Malaysian authorities announced that they were now investigating the possibility a missing Malaysian Airlines plane had turned back before disappearing, and were widening the search area accordingly.

As the search of the Malaysia Airlines flight continues into a second day on Sunday, Malaysian aviation authorities said it was “fearing the worst” and that radar displays indicated the plane could have turned around.

Al Jazeera‘s Scott Heidler, reporting from Kuala Lumpur, said the search would now be extended to the west coast of Malaysia.

“This raises a lot of unanswered questions,” he said. “If the pilots had the wherewithal to turn around why did they not communicate with any of the towers. Still the officials saying there wasn’t a distress call.”

No weather problems had been reported in the area before the plane dropped out of contact, and the pilots did not send a distress signal – something that has been highlighted by experts as unusual for a modern jetliner.

There was still no confirmed sighting of wreckage from the Boeing 777 in the seas between Malaysia and Vietnam where it vanished from screens early Saturday morning en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.

The identities of four passengers on board the missing jetliner are being investigated over ‘airline security fears’ as planes and ships from across Asia resumed the hunt for the plane that disappeared with 239 people on board.

Stolen passports

Foreign Ministry officials in Rome and Vienna said names of two nationals listed as passengers matched passports reported stolen in Thailand. Malaysian Transport Minister Hishamuddin Hussein said authorities were also checking the identities of two other passengers.

“All the four names are with me,” said Hishamuddin, who is also defence minister. “I have indicated to our intelligence agencies and I have also spoken to international intelligence agencies for assistance.”

He said help was also being sought from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). However, an attack was only one of the possibilities being investigated.

“We are looking at all possibilities,” he said. “We cannot jump the gun. Our focus now is to find the plane.”

Vietnamese naval boats sent from the holiday island of Phu Quoc patrolled stretches of the Gulf of Thailand, searching for any wreckage, scouring the area where an oil slick was spotted by patrol jets just before nightfall on Saturday.

On Sunday, the search efforts were increased, with 22 aircraft and 40 ships from various authorities now scouring the original search area and the area to the west that could have been reached if the plane did turn around.

Li Jiaxiang, administrator of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, said some debris had been spotted, but it was unclear whether it came from the plane.

Vietnamese authorities said they had seen nothing close to two large oil slicks they saw Saturday and said might be from the missing plane.

Finding traces of an aircraft that disappears over sea can take days or longer, even with a sustained search effort.

Terrorism is always considered a possibility, but the sudden disappearance of Flight MH370 has given extra emphasis to speculation a bomb might have been on board.

 

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Japan’s PM warns China on use of force as jets scrambled | i24news

Reports claim that it was a response to Chinese military drone flying over int. waters near Okinawa

Japan’s leader warned China on Sunday against forcibly changing the regional balance of power, as reports said Tokyo had scrambled fighter jets in response to Chinese military aircraft flying near Okinawa.

Verbal skirmishing between Asia’s two biggest economies, who dispute ownership of an island chain, escalated as Beijing warned Tokyo that any hostile action in the skies against Chinese drones would be construed as an “act of war”.

“We will express our intention as a state not to tolerate a change in the status quo by force. We must conduct all sorts of activities such as surveillance and intelligence for that purpose,” Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in an address to the military.

“The security environment surrounding Japan is becoming increasingly severe. This is the reality,” he said. “You will have to completely rid yourselves of the conventional notion that just the existence of a defence force could act as a deterrent.”

Abe presided over an inspection of the military at which a US amphibious assault vehicle was displayed for the first time, an apparent sign of Japan’s intention to strengthen its ability to protect remote islands.

The defence ministry plans to create a special amphibious unit to protect the southern islands and retake them in case of an invasion.

“There are concerns that China is attempting to change the status quo by force, rather than by rule of law,” Abe earlier told the Wall Street Journal in an interview following a series of summits this month with regional leaders.

“But if China opts to take that path, then it won’t be able to emerge peacefully,” he said in the interview published Saturday.

“So it shouldn’t take that path, and many nations expect Japan to strongly express that view. And they hope that as a result, China will take responsible action in the international community,” Abe added.

On Sunday Jiji Press and Kyodo News reported that Japan had deployed jets for two days running in response to four Chinese military aircraft flying over international waters near the Okinawa island chain.

Two Y8 early-warning aircraft and two H6 bombers flew from the East China Sea to the Pacific Ocean and back again but did not violate Japan’s airspace, the reports said.

The Japanese defence ministry was not immediately available for confirmation.

Japan’s military is on increased alert as Tokyo and Beijing pursue a war of words over the disputed islands in the East China Sea that lie between Okinawa and Taiwan.

On Saturday China responded angrily after a report said Japan had drafted plans to shoot down foreign drones that encroach on its airspace if warnings to leave are ignored.

Tokyo drew up the proposals after a Chinese military drone entered Japan’s air defence identification zone near the disputed islands in the East China Sea last month, Kyodo said.

“We would advise relevant parties not to underestimate the Chinese military’s staunch resolve to safeguard China’s national territorial sovereignty,” China’s defence ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said in comments posted on the ministry’s website.

“If Japan takes enforcement measures such as shooting down aircraft, as it says it will, that would constitute a serious provocation, an act of war of sorts, and we would have to take firm countermeasures, and all consequences would be the responsibility of the side that caused the provocation.”

Tokyo and Beijing both claim the small uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. Japan administers them and calls them the Senkakus. China refers to the islands as the Diaoyus.

One of Abe’s first decisions as prime minister was to increase the defence budget for the first time in 11 years.

Tokyo also plans to hold a major air and sea exercise next month to bolster its ability to protect its remote islands.

In the Wall Street Journal interview, Abe said Japan had become too inward-looking over the past 15 years, but as it regains economic strength “we’d like to contribute more to making the world a better place”.

The Journal said he made it clear that one way Japan would “contribute” would be countering China in Asia.

Japan’s PM warns China on use of force as jets scrambled | i24news – Information has a new name.