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Tags: japan | track | china | russia | warships | island

Japan Tracks Russian, Chinese Warships Near Island

china and russia flags

By    |   Wednesday, 22 June 2022 11:03 AM EDT

Chinese and Russian warships were seen near Japan, officials in Tokyo said.

Five Russian warships and at least two Chinese vessels were seen in the vicinity of the island nation since June 12, Japan's Defense Ministry said Tuesday, CNN reported.

The news came as the two superpowers’ relations with Japan have deteriorated over Ukraine and Taiwan.

"This is an obvious show of force from both Russia and China," James Brown, associate professor of political science at Temple University in Tokyo, told CNN.

"These activities are a major worry for Japan. Not least, tracking the movements of both Russian and Chinese military forces are a strain on the resources of the Japan Self Defense Forces."

CNN reported that there had been no claim from Tokyo that the Chinese and Russian ships were coordinating their actions, as they did in October when a total of 10 Russian and Chinese warships jointly participated in exercises in the area.

In the recent sightings, an anti-submarine destroyer led the Russian ships steaming through the Tsushima Strait, which separates Japan and South Korea. The flotilla had been near Japanese islands for a week, from Hokkaido in the north to Okinawa in the south, the Defense Ministry said in a news release.

Two Chinese warships and a supply ship were spotted Tuesday in the Izu Islands, about 310 miles south of Tokyo.

The Lhasa, a Type 55 guided-missile destroyer, and one of China's most powerful surface ships, appeared to be one of the ships.

Late last month, Chinese and Russian air forces conducted joint strategic air patrols over the Sea of Japan, the East China Sea, and the western Pacific Ocean, in what the Chinese Defense Ministry called part of an annual military cooperation plan.

That exercise occurred as Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida hosted a summit of the leaders of the United States, Australia, and India in Tokyo.

"Beijing has been angered by Japanese statements regarding the security of Taiwan, which the Chinese Communist Party considers a domestic matter," Brown told CNN.

At that summit, President Joe Biden said that the U.S. would intervene militarily if China were to invade Taiwan, saying the burden to protect Taiwan is "even stronger" after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The White House, though, quickly walked back Biden’s words, saying the U.S. position on China remained unchanged.

A few days later, China confirmed that it conducted military drills near Taiwan during Biden's recent visit to Asia, in response to Biden's public comment about the United States defending Taiwan militarily, if Beijing invaded.

The Russians, meanwhile, have been angered by Japan's support for Ukraine, which has been fighting against President Vladimir Putin’s forces since an unprovoked attack began Feb. 24.

"Russia therefore wishes to use its military power to intimidate Japan in the hope that this will deter Tokyo from imposing further such measures," Brown told CNN.

U.S. Naval Institute News reported Monday that the Japan conducted drills with the U.S. Navy while ships from five Indo-Pacific nations sailed together out of Guam en route to the Rim of the Pacific for an exercise in Hawaii.

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Chinese and Russian warships were seen near Japan, officials in Tokyo said.
japan, track, china, russia, warships, island
Wednesday, 22 June 2022 11:03 AM
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