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Japan says it, not South Korea, should have taken action on Russian plane

FILE PHOTO: Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono gestures as he attends a news conference after a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, Russia May 10, 2019. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan on Tuesday criticised South Korea for taking action against a Russian plane over what Japan says is its airspace, after Japan lodged a protest against both South Korea and Russia over the incident.

“Takeshima is Japan’s territory,” Foreign Minister Taro Kono told a news conference, referring to an island claimed by both South Korea and Japan. South Korea calls the island Dokdo.

“It is Japan that should take action against the Russian plane that entered its airspace. It is incompatible with Japan’s stance that South Korea takes steps on that,” Kono said.

South Korean warplanes fired hundreds of warning shots at the Russian military aircraft that entered South Korean airspace on Tuesday, South Korean defence officials said, while Russia denied violating any airspace and accused South Korean pilots of being reckless.

Japan earlier said it had lodged a protest with both South Korea and Russia.

Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Robert Birsel