Tuesday, 19 June, 2018

Japan protests after Chinese frigate, sub sail near Senkakus

Japan, China spat over disputed islets in East China Sea Chinese Frigate, Unidentified Submarine Enter Japan-Claimed Waters Near Senkaku Islands
Pablo Mccormick | 13 January, 2018, 03:30

Earlier in the day, the Japanese Kyodo news agency reported, citing the country's Defense Ministry, that a Chinese frigate and an unidentified foreign submarine had been detected outside Japanese territorial waters near the islands.

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said the missile interceptor system Aegis Ashore, to be deployed in Japan, could be used to intercept Chinese cruise missiles, a statement that may not be well received in Beijing.

In a news conference on Thursday, Lu Kang, China's foreign ministry spokesperson, declared that the islands were a part of Beijing's territory and warned Japan to stop complicating the issue, reported NHK World.

Japan, China spat over disputed islets in East China Sea
Japan confirms sub spotted near Senkakus was Chinese

The Chinese side explained the move by saying that its navy was in the area to monitor and follow two vessels belonging to Japan.

Worldwide law requires submarines to surface and hoist the national flag when navigating through territorial waters of other nations, but not in contiguous zones. The submarine left the zone on Thursday morning, but again sailed into the zone northeast of Taisho Island in the Japanese-administered Senkaku chain later. China has probed Japan's claimed waters and air space in the East China Sea with a range of assets so far, including aircraft, drones, and surface ships.

In the announcement, the ministry did not mention the nationality of the submarine, or even whether its nationality had been identified.

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Also off Taisho Island, a Chinese Navy frigate reportedly entered the contiguous zone twice on Thursday. The Chinese ship did not enter Japanese territorial waters. Five submarines have been spotted entering Japan's contiguous zone since 2013, a defense ministry spokesman said.

The officials say a Maritime Self-Defense Force vessel on Wednesday afternoon spotted a submarine sailing underwater off Miyako Island in the southern prefecture.

Following the latest incident, Vice Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama summoned Chinese Ambassador to Japan Cheng Yonghua to the ministry and lodged a protest with him.

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Relations between Japan and China deteriorated in 2012 when Tokyo "nationalised" some of the islets.

The Chinese ambassador responded to the protest by reiterating China's stance on the islands, the statement added.

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