Japan sends destroyer after China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier group spotted passing Okinawa
- Japan sent destroyer JS Suzutsuki and patrol aircraft to monitor and gather information on Chinese navy group
- Beijing’s new coastguard law, which allows Chinese ships to fire on foreign vessels, is intensifying tension with Tokyo
Japan has sent destroyer JS Suzutsuki, a P-1 maritime patrol aircraft and a P-3C anti-submarine warfare patrol aircraft to “gather information and monitor the movements of the Chinese vessels”, the joint staff said in a statement published on Sunday.
The Liaoning crossed the same waterway in June 2019 and December 2016.
Tension between the People’s Liberation Army and the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force in the East China Sea has escalated in recent months following Tokyo repeatedly voicing concerns over China’s new coastguard law. The law came into effect in February and allows China’s quasi-military force to use weapons against foreign ships that Beijing sees as illegally entering its waters.
The joint staff office of the Japanese Defence Ministry published photos of the six Chinese vessels in the Liaoning carrier group on Sunday. The statement said they were heading towards the Pacific Ocean.
Last week, China’s defence ministry urged Japan to stop making provocative moves and refrain from attacking China over the disputed islands after the defence ministries of both countries held a virtual meeting last Monday. The meeting was for maritime and air liaison communication, a mechanism created in 2007 to improve trust and cut the chance of military miscalculation between the two countries.