People’s Liberation Army Navy ships come full circle around Japan

Chinese vessels operating near Japan on June 24, 2022. Image by Japanese MoD

A People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) surface group entered the East China Sea on Wednesday, according to a statement from the Japanese Defense Ministry. The surface group has completed a near circuit of Japan since being sighted in the Tsushima Strait on June 12.

At 11 p.m. Wednesday, three PLAN ships were spotted sailing northwest in an area 130 kilometers northeast of Miyako Island, the statement said. The hull numbers and pictures provided identified the ships as CNS destroyers Lhasa (102) and SNC Chengdu (120) and CNS tanker Dongpinghu (902).

The ships then sailed through the Miyako Strait into the East China Sea. Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) JS destroyer Setogiri (DD-156) and a JMSDF P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft from Fleet Air Wing 5 based at Naha Air Base, Okinawa monitored the PLAN ships, the statement said.

The Joint Staff Office statement also included a map showing the movements of the three ships along with a Dongdiao-class surveillance vessel with hull number 794, which was seen with them in the Tsushima Strait on June 12.

Dongpinghu and Dongdiao 794 sailed east into the Pacific Ocean via Tsugaru Strait on 16 June, while the two destroyers passed through La Pérouse Strait heading east from 16–17 June. Lhasa, Chengdu and Dongpinghu were then seen sailing together on June 19, and the three ships have been sailing together ever since.

As of Sunday, the JSO has yet to issue a sighting statement on Dongdiao 794. Sunday’s press release said 794 was sighted at 1 a.m. that day sailing west in an area 90 kilometers northeast of Hachijo Island. The ship then sailed west between Mikura Island and Hachijo Island, which is part of the Izu Island group, while being monitored by the multipurpose support vessel JS. Enshu (AMS-4305).

Russian and Chinese vessels operated near the Izu Islands while sailing around Japan in June. A total of seven Russian ships sailed around Japan from June 16 to 17, then the surface group PLAN sailed on June 21.

On Thursday, the JMSDF and the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) held a joint exercise in the waters east of Izu Oshima, which is part of the Izu Islands, possibly in response to Russian and Chinese activity there. . The exercise involved JMSDF JS destroyers Yamagiri (DD-152) and JS Amagiri (DD-154), as well as a JMSDF SH-60K helicopter. JCG units included JCG patrol vessels Akatsushima (PLH-32) and JCG Miyako (PL-201), as well as a JCG Super Puma helicopter.

Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Asagiri-class destroyer JS Yamagiri (DD 152), left, JMSDF Asahi-class destroyer JS Asahi (DD 119) and JMSDF Akizuki-class destroyer JS Teruzuki (DD 116) sail in formation during Annual exercise (ANNUALEX), 21 November. US Navy Photo

“Through this exercise, we have enhanced the skills of the JMSDF and strengthened our joint response capability with the Japanese Coast Guard,” the JMSDF element commander said in a press release on the exercise.

The JMSDF conducted exercises with the Japan Coast Guard for the purpose of enhancing overall response and cooperation, as well as for Japan’s regional security and maritime area surveillance around Japan.

On Wednesday, the Japanese Ministry of Defense announced that the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) frigate HMAS Parramatta (FFH154) conducted surveillance activities in the Sea of ​​Japan in support of United Nations sanctions against North Korea. The statement did not specify the period during which this activity took place beyond the mention that it occurred at the end of June and that it was the seventh surveillance activity carried out by the RAN since 2018. .

Sanctions monitoring also includes surveillance by maritime patrol aircraft from various countries, with Canada saying its CP-140 maritime patrol aircraft was harassed by Chinese aircraft while carrying out such a mission from April 26 to April 26. may.

China has denied the actions.

“Canadian military aircraft have used the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions as an excuse to increase their approach to China. Recognition and provocation endanger China’s national security,” the official said. Senior Colonel Tan Kefei, spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of National Defense, speaking to the ministry’s monthly press. conference Thursday. “China firmly opposes it and urges relevant countries to stop spreading false information, end acts that endanger China’s national security and increase sea and air tensions, and take measures concrete ways to maintain regional peace and stability”.

In other developments, the Australian Department of Defense issued a press release on Thursday on Australia’s participation in Exercise Rim of the Pacific 2022 and revealed that an unnamed Australian submarine was taking part in the exercise.

The Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Warramunga (FFH 152) arrives at Pearl Harbor for Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022 on June 29. Royal Australian Navy picture

Australia had only previously stated that the HMAS helicopter landing dock Canberra (L02), HMAS frigate Warramunga (FFH152) and the HMAS tanker Provide (A195) would be its naval units in the exercise.

The statement also disclosed the composition of the Australian Joint Landing Force taking part in the exercise, which is being launched on Canberra, claiming it was led by the 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment and accompanied by personnel and capabilities from other Australian Army units. The statement said 1,600 members of the Australian Defense Force (ADF) were taking part in the exercise. Australia’s participation and leadership in the exercise underscores the country’s enduring commitment to sovereign security in the Indo-Pacific region, ADF Chief of Joint Operations, Lt. Gen. Greg Bilton said in a statement. the press release.

“RIMPAC demonstrates Australia’s commitment to the United States and the preservation of the freedoms enjoyed by our regional neighbours,” Bilton said in the statement. “We face complex strategic challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, and the Australian Defense Force will seize every opportunity to assure our friends that Australia has the capability and intent to uphold its alliances, agreements and its bilateral relations.

Four submarines are participating in RIMPAC 2022, although the nationality of only two submarines – the RAN submarine and the Republic of Korea Navy submarine ROKS Shin Dol Seok (SS-082) – have been leaked so far. At least one of the submarines is likely to be from the host nation, the United States, while the fourth could be either a second U.S. submarine or one from a partner nation.