3 Chinese Navy Ships Circle Japan for Days

Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLAN) Navy ships were seen circling Japan for days from June 12, involving two Chinese missile destroyers and a supply ship, a announced the Japanese Ministry of Defense on June 30.

The ministry said in a statement (pdf) that the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) detected three Chinese navy vessels sailing 130 kilometers (80 miles) northeast of Miyako Island and entering the disputed East China Sea on June 29.

The two PLAN missile destroyers, identified as the Renhai and Luyan III-class guided missile destroyers, were first spotted sailing through Japan’s Tsushima Strait from June 12-13.

The JMSDF detected that a PLAN frontier-class supply ship sailed east through Tsugaru Strait on June 16, while the two destroyers sailed east through Soya Strait from June 16 to June 17.

The ships were spotted sailing together 220 kilometers (136 miles) southeast of Inuzaki Island on June 20, and between Sumiju and Torishima Islands, part of the Izu Island group, on June 21.

Following this, the JMSDF deployed two destroyers and a patrol helicopter on June 30 for a joint exercise with the Japanese Coast Guard patrol vessels and helicopter east of Izu Oshima, which is part of the islands Izu.

“Through this exercise, we have improved the skills of the JMSDF and strengthened our joint response capability with the Japanese Coast Guard,” the JMSDF commander said in a statement.

China has increased its military presence in the South China Sea and has made numerous incursions into the East China Sea, where the Senkaku Islands are located.

Japan has primarily controlled the Senkaku Islands since 1895, but Beijing began asserting its right to the islands in the 1970s and called them the Diaoyu Islands.

Two Chinese coast guard vessels entered the area off the Senkaku Islands on June 18 and followed a Japanese fishing boat sailing through the area. The Chinese vessels left the area around 11:25 a.m. local time on June 19.

Japan also filed a protest against Beijing’s “unilateral development activities” in the East China Sea on June 17, after its navy detected that China was preparing the ground for a new structure in the disputed waters.

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Aldgra Fredly is a Malaysia-based freelance writer covering Asia-Pacific news for The Epoch Times.