Japan is gravely concerned after warships of the Russian and Chinese Naval forces sailed near its southern islands on Thursday, a day before Japan participated in a summit with South Korea and the US, regarding escalating tensions in the Indo-Pacific.
Video Credits: The Times And The Sunday Times
Per Japan’s Defense Ministry, 6 Chinese and 5 Russian ships sailed between Japan’s Okinawa Island and Miyako Island and then headed to the East China Sea.
Though the ships did not sail into the territorial waters of Japan, it was the first instance where Russian and Chinese ships sailed together in this body of water.
Per a defence ministry statement, the 11 naval ships were seen 280 km northeast of Japan’s Okinotori islands on Tuesday morning.
Per reports, the ships had undertaken a joint patrol in the Pacific and sailed through Soya Strait after conducting joint drills in the Sea of Japan in July.
The Defense Ministry of Russia confirmed that the ships were conducting a joint patrol in the East China Sea. Along with Chinese vessels, they conducted anti-submarine exercises, dodged simulated enemy air raids, practised rescue training at sea, helicopter takeoffs and landings on warships’ decks, the Russian ministry mentioned.
Japan stated that Russia and China have frequently held joint naval and aerial exercises near its borders as a show of force against Japan, threatening its national security.
Japan joined its Western allies and imposed sanctions on Russia while pledging billions in humanitarian aid for Ukraine, leading to deteriorating relations with Russia. Meanwhile, China has strengthened its diplomatic ties with Moscow, despite being a neutral party in the whole conflict.
The incident comes before the first-ever trilateral summit between the US, Japan and South Korea. The leaders of the countries are expected to discuss deepening defence, technological and economic cooperation.
The summit is also a show of unity and force amidst security challenges they face, like provocations from North Korea and military manoeuvres by China.
The summit is significant given the fraught relations between South Korea and Japan regarding the dispute between them over forced labour by Tokyo during the Korean occupation. However, leaders of both countries have come together in the face of common regional threats and even conducted joint military exercises with the US in 2022.
However, this is not a welcome step. China urged Japan and South Korea to move towards strategic autonomy, stay away from the West, and cooperate with China to revitalise Asia.
“No matter how blond you dye your hair, how sharp you shape your nose, you can never become a European or American, you can never become a Westerner,” said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. “We must know where our roots lie.”
Top officials are wary of North Korea since the nation earlier launched missiles before US-South Korea drills in response to the trilateral talks between Japan, South Korea and the US.
Seoul believes North Korea will launch an intercontinental ballistic missile around the meeting or joint drills between the US and South Korea, which will commence next week.
References: editioncnn, firspost, republicworld
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