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Chinese warships pass by disputed islands, raising tension

Chinese warships pass by disputed islands, raising tension

Posted October. 22, 2012 05:28,   


Chinese warships have entered disputed waters near the Senkaku (Diaoyu) Islands, which it has a territorial row with Japan. They passed the waters in returning from ocean training but raised Beijing`s response position against Tokyo. Chinese surveillance ships also returned to the waters in 10 days, fueling fears in Japan that bilateral tension is growing with China.

China Central Television said Sunday the North Sea Fleet Command returned to the port of Qingdao Thursday after 17 days of training. The fleet comprises seven major warships including the missile destroyers Harbin and Shijiazhuang and the missile frigates Yancheng and Mianyang.

After conducting drills such as those to prevent pirates attacking submarines in the West Pacific Ocean, the fleet returned home by passing Senkaku on Oct. 14. The nearest location was 55.5 kilometers near the islands.

Japanese destroyers and frigates were tailing them until they got out of the waters, but the Chinese government apparently sent the message that it can make a military response if necessary.

The Chinese navy will also send pilotless jet planes over the waters, said Japanese daily Sankei Shimbun. The newspaper quoted a report by the private company RigNet written by experts who had worked at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. In June last year, the Chinese fleet activated a pilotless jet helicopter over the waters.

China`s State Oceanic Administration announced on its website Sunday that four surveillance ships conducted regular patrol in waters around the islands, their first entry to the area in 10 days.

Former Chinese President Jiang Zemin, who remains a force in his nation`s politics behind the scenes, said in a public appearance early this month that China must raise oceanic development. The People`s Daily reported Saturday that Zemin, who was at an event commemorating the centennial anniversary of the Shanghai Maritime University in Beijing on Oct. 9, that the 21st century is the era of oceans, stressing that resource-poor China needs to pay more attention to oceanic development.

Japanese Ambassador to China Uichiro Niwa warned that Sino-Japanese tension surrounding the Senkaku Islands is in an unprecedented severe state. According to Japanese media Sunday, in a speech made at his alma mater Nagoya University on Saturday, he said on bilateral relations, "The efforts made by dozens of prime ministers over the past 40 years (since the resumption of diplomatic ties) could go down the drain. Relations could return to their state of 40 years ago."

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