Japan protests after Chinese frigate, sub sail near Senkakus

Japan protests after Chinese frigate, sub sail near Senkakus

Japan protests after Chinese frigate, sub sail near Senkakus

Japan has warned Beijing against taking any actions that will damage bilateral ties, after a Chinese military warship and a foreign submarine were seen near disputed islands in the East China Sea on Thursday.

The submarine was first detected on Thursday in waters contiguous to Japan's territory around the islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

"The [Diaoyu Islands] are a natural part of Chinese territory", Lu Kang, Beijing's foreign ministry spokesman, said Thursday, according to UPI.

Chinese officials defended the move Thursday, saying that the Senkakus are China's territory and that the incident was instigated by two Japanese navy vessels.

The Maritime Self-Defense Force spotted the submarine traveling in the contiguous zone east-northeast of Miyakojima, an island in Okinawa, on Wednesday afternoon.

Worldwide law requires submarines to surface and hoist the national flag when navigating through territorial waters of other nations, but not in contiguous zones.

Meanwhile, the Chinese frigate was spotted in the contiguous zone near the isle on Thursday morning.

"We are monitoring the vessels and sending a message to them that they entered the contiguous waters near Japanese territory", said Yamaguchi.

The officials say neither vessel entered Japanese territorial waters.

The warship and the submarine had left the waters by the afternoon, the defence ministry said in a statement.

In addition, director-general of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Kenji Kanasugi met with Chinese ambassador Cheng Yonghua, protesting the incident.

Sugiyama expressed "great concern" over the provocations and strongly urged China not to hinder efforts to improve the countries' relationship.

The United States has long declined to take a position on the islands' sovereignty; however, Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump have both declared that the Senkakus will be protected under the U.S-Japan security alliance. The Japanese Ministry of Defense did not immediately clarify if the Chinese frigate, which was a Type 054A Jiangkai-II-class frigate, belonged to the People's Liberation Army-Navy (PLAN) or the China Coast Guard, which uses the Type 054A as well.

After the meeting, the ambassador left the ministry without responding to reporters' questions.

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