Japan says suspected Chinese submarine sighted near territorial waters

FILE PHOTO: Japan
FILE PHOTO: Japan's Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi attends a news conference in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: Japan’s Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi attends a news conference in Tokyo, Japan September 16, 2020. Reuters / Kim Kyung-hoon

September 12, 2021

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s defense ministry said on Sunday that a Chinese submarine was spotted in waters off its southern islands, as maritime tensions in the Pacific remained high.

Japan’s navy on Friday morning identified a submerged ship in the northwest off territorial waters off Amami Oshima Island, part of Kagoshima Prefecture, the ministry said in a statement. A Chinese destroyer was also seen in the vicinity.

Tokyo complains https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-japan-china-navy-idUKKBN26W0BF There have been multiple incursions by Chinese ships in recent years in its territorial waters and near disputed islands. China has often reacted angrily to US ships sailing through disputed areas of the South China Sea, which Washington calls a demonstration of freedom of navigation https://www.reuters.com/world/china/china- says-drove-away-us- battleship-shina-sea-2021-07-12.

Senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi, who is visiting Vietnam during his visit to Southeast Asia, said that the two countries should https://www.reuters.com/world/china/china-vietnam- should-avoid-magnifying-s- china-sea- should be avoided. Dispute-China-Wang-Yi-2021-09-11 Unilateral action in the South China Sea that could complicate and escalate disputes.

Saturday’s announcement said Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force had identified ships in a near vicinity, which is out of territorial waters where ships are required to identify themselves. Nevertheless, Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi instructed his staff to “gather information and maintain immediate surveillance,” the statement said.

Chinese embassy officials could not be immediately reached for comment on Sunday.

The ministry said the submarine continued westward into the sea near Yokoet Island, underwater.

(Reporting by Rocky Swift in Tokyo; Editing by William Mallard)

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