China downplayed Japan’s claims that Thursday’s Xian H-6 bomber drills over a waterway between the Japanese islands of Miyako and Okinawa was something “unusual.” Beijing said that the warplanes legally passed through the Miyako Strait and did not rule out such drills in the future.
“It is legitimate for Chinese military planes to fly through the strait, and more similar training will be conducted on the high seas as needed,”Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang stated on Friday, as cited by Xinhua news agency.
The spokesman also advised them to react more calmly and to get used to such maneuvers.
“The parties concerned don’t need to overact and make a great fuss about it. They will feel better after getting used to such drills.”
China admitted that its air force conducted “multiple drills far out at sea,” including maneuvers in the Bashi Channel between Taiwan and the Philippines apart from those in the Miyako Strait.
“China’s air force over the past week conducted multiple drills far out at sea, with H-6K bombers and many other types of aircraft flying through the Bashi Channel and Miyako Strait, testing actual battle capabilities over the sea,” Reuters reported, citing an air force statement. The military also added that the routine exercises are not aimed at any specific country.
On Thursday, the flyover of six Chinese bombers in the Miyako Strait provoked Japan to scramble its own military planes, although the move did not violate the country’s airspace.
The Miyako Strait is a strategic waterway between Japanese islands, not far from Okinawa – an island that hosts about 70 percent of the US troops in Japan. The waterway is also east of Taiwan, which is officially Chinese territory, but seeking independence from the mainland. Taiwan’s military said they closely monitored the drills, Reuters reports.
Beijing and Tokyo have long been involved in territorial disputes, including claims over the Senkaku Islands, which are also not far from the site of the latest drills, in the East China Sea.
The islands, which are 200 nautical miles south of Okinawa, are controlled by Japan. However, Chinese military aircraft are frequently spotted flying over waters near the islands, called Diaoyudao in China.
In March, the Japanese Air Force deployed fighter jets in response to more than a dozen Chinese warplanes passing near the island of Okinawa.
Hacker leaks emails of a top US State Department Russian affairs intel official – media
A hacker known as ‘Johnnie Walker’ leaked a batch of private correspondence of a US State Department intelligence official, whose work is focused on Russian domestic affairs, according to FP, citing the emails.
The emails, from a hacked nongovernmental account over a two-year period, were sent to “an unknown number of recipients,” the outlet – which reported on the story initially – notes. There is, however, no information on who exactly was among the recipients.
Although the leaks were received on Tuesday, according to the magazine, they did not gain widespread attention until Friday.
In a letter announcing the alleged hacking, Johnnie Walker said that the leak would provide evidence for establishing what was called “agenda formation in many countries worldwide, especially where the situation is insecure.”
The sender also reportedly claimed that the US State Department official was in contact with various intelligence agencies, including the CIA, as well as “mainstream media, NGOs, and international funds.”
Although the alleged hacking victim holds “a senior position in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research” and his name is public, according to FP, the outlet did not disclose the name, citing a request from the state department, which has so far neither confirmed nor denied the hack.
The alleged leaked correspondence was released online on Pastebin. Its authenticity remains unclear. The description to the three archives available for download also adds the name of the alleged agent.
Although the hacker’s nickname is not mentioned on Pastebin, some quotes from the description to the files partly coincide with those cited by FP.
“Perhaps you know that the U.S. State Department has a direct bearing on the agenda formation not only at home but throughout the world. Now you can make sure it’s true,” the description says.
The alleged hacker said he had “deleted his [the US State Department official] correspondence with his wife and relatives” due to “the respect for privacy.” A trove of internal documents of then-French presidential hopeful Emmanuel Macron was released on the same website just two days before the final round of the election.
Apart from the name of the hacker’s target, the content of the letters has not been published in the Western media. Russian newspaper Kommersant, however, claims it has access to the files.
The newspaper says that the intelligence official sent his colleagues links to articles from different Russian news outlets, including Novaya Gazeta, The New Times, Vedomosti, and RBK, among others.
Topics of the official’s particular interest were social media accounts of Russian officials, staff re-shuffling in governmental bodies, and the influence of some state officials, according to Kommersant.
The report also notes that it is unclear if it was a single leak or only one in a series of hacking attacks.