- The drone flew near Okinawa and other outlying Japanese islands
- Tokyo announced plans to deploy a surface-to-air missile defense unit on Yonaguni island
- China used WZ-7 in Tibet to carry out surveillance missions over the border with Indi
Amid rising tensions in the Indo-Pacific region, Chinese WZ-7 surveillance drones appeared for the first time over the East China Sea close to Japanese islands two days in a row, prompting Tokyo to scramble fighter jets on both occasions.
The drone flight on Sunday and Monday could be linked to the recent movement of the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning along with its task force, as per a report by The War Zone. The Liaoning Carrier Strike Group (CSG) is operating in the East China Sea after two weeks of deployment in the Philippine Sea, USNI News reported.
According to the Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD), a single WZ-7—also known as “Soaring Dragon”—was active in the East China Sea as part of a mission that lasted from the morning to the afternoon, local time.
The drone reportedly took an identical flight path on both days. After appearing over the East China Sea, it flew towards the Philippine Sea, passing through the Miyako Strait which separates Japan’s main island of Okinawa from the Miyako Islands. The drone then flew south of Japan’s Sakishima Islands, further to the west, before reversing its course and heading back to the main island of Okinawa.
Significantly, further west of Sakishima Islands lies the island of Yonaguni located just off the east coast of Taiwan. As reported on Thursday, Tokyo has announced plans to deploy a surface-to-air missile defense unit on Yonaguni making the region particularly interesting for Beijing. (Click here to read more…)