Japan says South China Sea security impacts national interests

February 4, 2015 7:47 AM

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Japan says South China Sea security impacts national interests

TOKYO (Reuters) - Security in the South China Sea, claimed almost wholly by China, impacts Japan's interests and could warrant a rethink of military patrol aircraft deployments, the defense minister said after a U.S. Navy officer said Washington would welcome a Japanese presence in the region.

Regular patrols by Japanese aircraft only reach into the East China Sea, where Japan and China are embroiled in a sovereignty dispute over a group of islands. Extending flights into the South China Sea would almost certainly increase tension between the world's second- and third-largest economies.

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