TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Japan has officially protested to China over an incident in which a Chinese frigate sailed in waters near disputed islands in the East China Sea, calling on Beijing to avoid actions that could impede the betterment of bilateral relations.
According to a statement released by Japan’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday, Japan’s Vice Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama summoned Cheng Yonghua, Beijing’s ambassador to Tokyo, to voice Japan’s concerns over the issue.
That came after Japanese naval authorities said they had detected a Chinese 4,000-tonne Jiangkai II-class frigate around 11:00 a.m. local time (0200 GMT) apparently on the same day in waters surrounding the Japanese-administered isles known as Senkaku in Japan and claimed as the Diaoyu by China.
Sugiyama “issued a protest by expressing serious concerns and strongly requested China not to interfere with the flow of improving Japan-China relations,” the statement further said, as read out by Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, in a press conference.
Meanwhile, Japanese Defense Ministry spokesman Go Yamaguchi claimed that an unidentified submarine had also been spotted entering the adjacent waters off the disputed islands.
“We are monitoring the vessels and sending a message to them that they entered the contiguous waters near Japanese territory,” Yamaguchi added, referring to a 12-nautical-mile band of waters that extends beyond territorial waters.
In reaction, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular press briefing that the Chinese naval vessels had carried out “surveillance over the activities of the Japanese side,” reiterating China’s claim to the isles.
Beijing is locked in a territorial row with Tokyo on the uninhabited yet strategically-important island group in the East China Sea. Ties between the two sides deteriorated after Tokyo nationalized part of the resource-rich islands in 2012.