Japan protests after Chinese frigate, sub sail near Senkakus


Japanese navy ships spotted the 4,000-tonne Jiangkai II class frigate around 11:00 am (0200 GMT) in waters surrounding the Tokyo-administered isles, called Senkaku in Japan and also claimed as the Diaoyu islands by China. The previous day, Japan lodged a protest with China over the presence of a frigate in the same area. "The presence of the submarine in Japan's contiguous waters, along with that of the frigate, has unilaterally raised tensions".

"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.

Sugiyama expressed "great concern" over the provocations and strongly urged China not to hinder efforts to improve the countries' relationship. On Thursday, Japan issued a warning to China to stand down after a military warship and submarine were seen near the disputed waters in East China Sea.

The crisis management mechanism, however, excludes Japan's territorial waters and air space around the disputed Senkaku Islands. Japan's actions can in no way change this objective reality. They say both left the contiguous zone on Thursday afternoon.

Along with the submarine, a Chinese frigate was identified Thursday as having entered the zone, prompting Japan to protest the action. Therefore, the region of Northeast Asia and the East China Sea doesn't need heightened tensions between China and Japan - or China and Taiwan.

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe responded to the incidents Thursday by giving instructions to prepare for all possible contingencies and to coordinate closely with the USA, according to a statement released by his Cabinet.

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

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 saw foreign submarines navigating in its contiguous zone in 2013, 2014 and 2016.