A Chinese spy vessel entered Japanese waters as it shadowed the U.S. Navy’s Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis which is taking part in the U.S., Japanese, Indian naval exercise Malabar 2016 in the Western Pacific.
The Dongdiao-class intelligence vessel was spotted by patrol aircraft as it sailed in Japanese territorial waters west of Kuchinoerabu Island, Reuters reported the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroshige Seko saying at a press conference.
While Chinese Coast Guard ships have sailed in Japan’s contiguous zone on a number of occasions, this is the first time since 2004 that a Chinese naval ship entered Japanese territorial waters.
Territorial waters are the 12-nautical-mile strip off a nation’s coast while contiguous waters refer to further 12 miles adjoining the territorial waters.
The latest incursion comes just days after a Chinese frigate entered disputed East China Sea water near Japan’s Senkaku islands.
U.S. Navy saiolors together with their Indian and Japanese counterparts are currently conducting the multi-national exercise Malabar which started June 9 and is set to last until June 17.