Concern Rising as Chinese Warships Circle Japanese Territory

Concern Rising as Chinese Warships Circle Japanese Territory

Chinese Warships Deployed – Entire Country Surrounded

( – Japan is on alert as Chinese warships continue a pattern of aggression in recent months, circling the smaller island nation on what look like patrols. The ships sailed through the Sea of Japan, making their way to the Pacific, ultimately “circumventing the Japanese archipelago,” according to KYODO News.

A Show of Strength

The Chinese mission around the island was no minor display of aggression. The two guided-missile destroyers, accompanied by a supply ship, sent a clear message to Japan. Tensions between the two countries have heightened of late as China increasingly looks like it may decide to reclaim Taiwan.

Japan’s response to the possibility of a clash between China and Taiwan, offering military advice and acknowledging the Taiwanese plight, isn’t popular with the Chinese leaders. The communist government sees any affiliation with Taiwan, in an official capacity, as a threat to its sovereignty. Japanese leaders see the mission around the international waters surrounding their country as an indication that the situation is near a breaking point.

The destroyers circling Japan aren’t the first sign of aggression in recent months. KYODO’s report says China regularly encroaches on Japan’s territorial waters, particularly near a group of East China Sea inlets. The Japanese control the area, but the Chinese claim it as their own.

The Russians Make Matters Worse

Along with the Chinese threat, Russia routinely runs missions through the Sea of Japan. In October, the countries teamed up and sent a group of 10 vessels around Japan, passing through nearby straits during a seven-day patrol. Last month, Russian and Chinese bombers came so close to Japanese waters that government officials scrambled fighter jets in case they were witnessing an actual invasion.

According to a South China Morning Post (SCMP) report, the area west of Japan in the East China Sea is heavily disputed, with neither country willing to yield any ground. The most recent sign of aggressive behavior by the Chinese government is reported gas field exploration in the contested area.

Rare But Legal

SCMP also reported that Vice President of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, Hu Jiping, said that while the moves in the area might seem suspicious to the Japanese, they are perfectly legal. Moreover, all the activity, including the pairing with Russian ships, happened in international waters, so there was no harm or foul. He also notes that Tokyo has been keeping a close eye on Beijing.

Whether real or perceived, heightened military activity in a given area is typically cause for alarm. What may be an innocuous situation could quickly turn into a serious act of aggression, resulting in an international incident.

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