China defends deployment of naval ship to Japan-claimed islands

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang

The incursions happened Wednesday and Thursday in Japan's contiguous zone around Okinawa and the Senkaku Islands by a Chinese frigate and submarine presumed to be from China, Japanese officials said.

Earlier in the day, the Japanese Kyodo news agency reported, citing the country's Defense Ministry, that a Chinese frigate and an unidentified foreign submarine had been detected outside Japanese territorial waters near the islands.

Yoshihide Suga, the Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan, said, "We want to strongly urge China not to do anything to interfere with improving bilateral ties".

In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular press briefing "the Chinese naval vessels conducted surveillance over the activities of the Japanese side" and repeated China's claim to the islands. Also, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promising to reach out to China this year, then China's recent deployment of a frigate and submarine is bound to tie the hands of the current leader of Japan if this policy is continued. It does not include the contiguous zone, where a coastal state is afforded some law enforcement rights under global law. The submarine left the zone on Thursday morning, but again sailed into the zone northeast of Taisho Island in the Japanese-administered Senkaku chain later.

The Japan Coast Guard said Chinese ships entered Japanese waters 114 times past year.

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The incident comes just days after four China Coast Guard vessels entered Japanese territorial waters around the disputed islets. Five submarines have been spotted entering Japan's contiguous zone since 2013, a defense ministry spokesman said.

Following the latest incident, Vice Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama summoned Chinese Ambassador to Japan Cheng Yonghua to the ministry and lodged a protest with him.

Sugiyama expressed "great concern" over the provocations and strongly urged China not to hinder efforts to improve the countries' relationship. Of course, not neglecting the pro-Han Chinese demographic reality in relation to undermining the indigenous of Tibet and Xinjiang - and China's containment policy of democratic Taiwan.

Japan and China have always been at loggerheads over the tiny, uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.

After the meeting, the ambassador left the ministry without responding to reporters' questions.

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