Japan Warns China Over Warship and Submarines Sailing Near Contested Waters

Japan Warns China Over Warship and Submarines Sailing Near Contested Waters

Japan and China have always been at loggerheads over the tiny, uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.

Japan's Defense Ministry says a foreign submarine was sailing underwater in the contiguous zone just outside territorial waters in Okinawa Prefecture on Wednesday and Thursday.

Sugiyama expressed grave concern and stressed that China should not stem the tide for improving Japan-China relations.

Xi Jinping and Shinzo Abe say it's a fresh start for China and Japan.

A foreign submarine was also detected in the contiguous waters near Japanese territory on Wednesday and Thursday, said the country's Defence Ministry, which believes that the submarine is also from China, as reported by local news agency Kyodo.

The Senkakus - an uninhabited chain surrounded by resource-rich waters between Okinawa and Taiwan - are claimed by Japan, Taiwan and China, which refers to them as Diaoyu.

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said the submarine surfaced Thursday flying a Chinese flag on its mast. The sub exited the contiguous zone and headed toward the Senkakus on Thursday morning. Indeed, with tensions showing positive signs on the Korean Peninsula between North Korea and South Korea, then China's actions near the Senkaku Islands (named Diaoyu Islands in China) is extremely shallow.

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Japan protested to China on Friday after a foreign submarine in waters near disputed islands in the East China Sea was confirmed to be Chinese, calling it a unilateral action and a "serious escalation" that raised bilateral tensions.

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. It left Thursday afternoon.

"We'll demand that the Chinese side not impede the current momentum for improving Japan-China relations", Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference.

Onodera made the statement during a visit to Hawaii Thursday.

A spokesman for China's defence ministry said the frigate had been sent out to monitor the movement of vessels operated by the Japanese Self-Defence Forces.

Maritime confrontations and jet interceptions between China and Japan have become commonplace in recent years, especially around the Senkakus. Both vessels sailed out of the zone in the afternoon, without reaching the Japanese territorial waters.

The last time a foreign submarine was spotted in Japanese contiguous waters was in February 2016.

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