Japan’s Defense Ministry said that several Chinese ships were spotted in the area near Japanese territorial waters, moving toward the disputed Senkaku Islands, before they pulled away hours later. The two nations have been at an impasse over who owns the rocky islands in the East China Sea and tensions remain high.
The incident Tuesday morning marked the first time that Chinese warships had entered the contiguous zone between Yonagunijima Island and Iriomotejima Island in Okinawa Prefecture, part of Japan, the ministry said, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper. Both Okinawa and the Senkaku Islands are located in the East China Sea.
But later, the warships appeared to be moving away from the disputed islands, which are believed to be located near reserves of natural gas and other resources, the Asahi Shimbun reported. The fleet consisted of two Chinese navy destroyers, two frigates, two submarine support vessels, and a supply ship.
“The latest passage was not in the contiguous zone around the Senkakus,” an aide to Noda told the Asahi Shimbun. “China is also becoming more cautious.”
But Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura on Tuesday admitted that Japan is “unsure what China’s intentions are.”
The ships are said to belong to the same group that traveled in waters near the main island of Okinawa on Oct. 4, and were likely doing training exercises, reported the Japan Daily Press.
Full article: Chinese Warships Approach, Then Pull From Japan Waters (The Epoch Times)