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Japan protests Chinese chopper that neared warship

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 8:10 a.m. HST, Mar 7, 2011

A Japanese defense official says a helicopter belonging to China's State Oceanic Administration came within 230 feet of the destroyer Monday as it was patroling near a disputed area. He spoke on condition of anonymity, citing protocol.

He said the helicopter did not violate Japanese airspace, but it appeared to be filming the destroyer.

Kyodo News agency said the incident occurred near undersea gas deposits both countries claim.

Tensions between Japan and China soared after Chinese and Japanese boats crashed in the same sea last year.

Japan scrambled fighter jets last Wednesday when Chinese warplanes approached nearby disputed islands.

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