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Japanese Destroyer Enters Chinese Waters, Sparks Diplomatic Tension


A Japanese navy destroyer made an unusual entry into China’s territorial waters near Taiwan earlier this month. The incident occurred without prior notification to China, leading to “serious concerns” from Beijing, according to Japanese media reports on Wednesday.

Incident Details

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s destroyer Suzutsuki entered China’s waters off Zhejiang province on July 4. This area was designated by China for naval drills, as reported by Kyodo News Agency, citing diplomatic sources.

Mission and Entry

The destroyer Suzutsuki was assigned to monitor Chinese missile exercises in the East China Sea, located north of Taiwan. It entered Chinese waters without notifying Beijing, according to broadcaster NTV, which cited sources within Japan’s defence ministry.

The vessel sailed within 12 nautical miles (22 kilometres) of the Zhejiang coast for approximately 20 minutes, despite receiving warnings from Chinese vessels. Beijing subsequently expressed “serious concerns” to Tokyo about the incident.

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Investigation and Previous Incidents

Japan’s defence ministry has initiated an investigation into the incident, questioning the captain of Suzutsuki. The intentions of the crew remain unclear, according to Kyodo.

This incident is not isolated. Chinese coast guard and naval vessels have previously entered Japanese territorial waters. For instance, in June of last year, Japan lodged a protest after Chinese naval vessels entered Japanese waters near Yakushima island.

Moreover, in December, the Chinese military accused a U.S. Navy ship of “illegally” entering waters near a disputed South China Sea atoll. This area has seen numerous maritime confrontations involving China and its neighbours, including the Philippines.

With Inputs from Reuters