TOKYO, Sept. 12 (Reuters) – Japan’s Defense Ministry announced on Sunday that a submarine believed to have originated from China had been spotted in waters near its southern islands, as maritime tensions persist in the Pacific.
The Japanese navy on Friday morning identified a submerged vessel sailing northwest just outside territorial waters near Amami Oshima Island, which is part of Kagoshima Prefecture, the ministry said in a statement. . A Chinese destroyer has also been spotted nearby.
Tokyo has complained of numerous intrusions by Chinese ships into its territorial waters and near disputed islands in recent years. China has often reacted angrily to US ships sailing in disputed areas of the South China Sea in what Washington calls displays of freedom of navigation.
Senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi, visiting Vietnam on a trip to Southeast Asia, said the two countries should refrain from any unilateral action regarding the South China Sea that could complicate and amplify the disputes. .
Sunday’s announcement said the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force had identified ships in a contiguous area, outside of territorial waters where ships are required to identify. Still, Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi asked his staff to “gather information and maintain vigilant surveillance with a sense of urgency,” the statement said.
Chinese embassy officials could not be reached immediately for comment on Sunday.
The submarine continued underwater west into the ocean near Yokoate Island, the ministry said.
(This story has been corrected to date Sunday in the fifth paragraph)
Report by Rocky Swift in Tokyo; Editing by William Mallard
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.