Two Russian fighters breach Japanese air space: Tokyo

Updated 08 February 2013
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Two Russian fighters breach Japanese air space: Tokyo

TOKYO: Two Russian fighters violated Japanese airspace yesterday, Tokyo’s defense ministry said, prompting Japan to scramble its own warplanes in what was reported to be the first such incident in five years.
The planes were detected off the northern island of Hokkaido for just over a minute, shortly after Japan’s new prime minister said he wanted to find a “mutually acceptable solution” to a decades-old territorial row between the two.
Japan’s foreign ministry lodged a formal protest over what it said was an incursion by a pair of Russian Su-27 fighters. Four Japanese F-2 fighters were sent up to visually confirm the Russian planes, according to Kyodo news.
“Today, around 3:00 p.m. (0600 GMT), military fighters belonging to Russian Federation breached our nation’s airspace above territorial waters off Hokkaido’s Rishiri island,” the foreign ministry said.
If confirmed, it would be the first breach of Japanese airspace by Russia since February 2008, according to Japanese media reports.
However, Moscow denied any incursion had taken place, in a statement by the spokesman for the military command’s eastern district, Roman Martov, given to Russian news agencies.
“Flights by the air force of the Pacific Fleet take place regularly in this region, in strict adherence to the international rules, without violation of state borders,” it said.
The alleged incident came hours after hawkish Japanese premier Shinzo Abe, who swept to power in December with pledges to get tough on diplomacy, offered apparently conciliatory comments toward Moscow over the Russian-administered Southern Kurils, known as the Northern Territories in Japan.
Abe’s tone was in marked contrast to his uncompromising stance on a dispute with Beijing over the sovereignty of a different set of disputed islands.
“There is no change in my resolve to do everything I can toward sealing a peace treaty with Russia after resolving the issue of the Northern Territories,” Abe said.
In December, Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to restart talks on signing a peace treaty formally ending the hostilities of World War II that has been stymied by the dispute.
“In the telephone talks, I told President Putin I would make efforts to find a mutually acceptable solution so as to ultimately solve the issue of the Northern Territories,” Abe told a government-backed rally of around 2,000 former islanders and their descendants in Tokyo.
Soviet forces seized the isles, which stretch out into rich fishing waters off the northern coast of Hokkaido, in the dying days of WWII and drove out Japanese residents.
The islands were later re-populated by Russians but remain a poor and undeveloped part of the country.
Abe’s comments come as tensions between Japan and China have intensified over the sovereignty of the Tokyo-administered Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, claimed by Beijing as the Diaoyus.
On Tuesday, Japan said a Chinese frigate had locked its weapons-targeting radar onto a Japanese military vessel; the first time the two nation’s navies have locked horns in a dispute that flared badly last summer.
Abe on Wednesday called the radar move “dangerous” and “provocative.”
Beijing shot back yesterday that Tokyo has been “hyping up crisis and deliberately creating tension to smear China’s image.”
The Japanese prime minister has repeatedly said there is no room for negotiation over the East China Sea islands. But he has also stressed the row should not harm overall ties with Beijing, an important trading partner.


Displaced Marawi residents unhappy, a year after Daesh-backed siege

An evacuee stands inside her own section as hundreds of evacuees continue to be housed for almost five months now in a multi-purpose hall at Balo-i township, Lanao del Norte province after fleeing the besieged city of Marawi on Oct. 17, 2017 in southern Philippines. (AP)
Updated 1 min 26 sec ago
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Displaced Marawi residents unhappy, a year after Daesh-backed siege

MANILA: Five months of heavy fighting between government forces and members of the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups, not only resulted in the death of more than 1,000 people but also left the city in ruins a year ago.
Today, while the Philippine government has announced its plans to rebuild Marawi, many residents who were displaced by the war remain uncertain about their future
Interviewed by Arab News, Ai’sha, one of the residents, lamented that “people are not satisfied with the way things are progressing.
“It (the start of the siege) will be already one year ago in a couple of days and people are still not allowed into the area,” she said, referring to those whose homes were at the ground zero or the most affected part of the city.
She added even those who live in barangays (villages) that were not hit by the fighting also continue to feel the impact of the siege. While they did not lose their homes, they have lost their livelihoods.
Even their movement — when they need to go to the market or elsewhere in the city — is affected because they are “prevented from even taking advantage of the easiest road for them.” Thus they have to go around, which means a bigger transportation cost.
When asked about the rehabilitation of Marawi, Ai’sha said many affected residents fear that the entry of multinational companies “to help them” is a mere “disguise” because eventually “they are going to take over the businesses in Marawi city.