Japan’s defense minister Itsunori Onodera has condemned China’s deployment of a PLA Navy submarine to the disputed Senkaku Islands.
Onodera’s reaction came after a submarine of the Chinese Navy was detected by Japanese warships and aircraft as it sailed near the disputed islands on January 11.
According to media reports, the submarine in question was a Shang-class (Type 093) submarine equipped with ship-to-ship missiles and torpedoes.
According to Japan’s defense ministry, the submarine moved under water in the Japanese contiguous zone of Taisho Island on January 11, before surfacing and navigating in the East China Sea northwest of Senkaku Islands showing the national flag of China.
Additionally, on the same morning a Japanese destroyer and a corvette confirmed a Jiangkai II-class frigate of the Chinese Navy entering the Japanese contiguous zone northeast of Taisho Island.
Responding to reporters’ questions about the event, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said that two vessels of Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force entered a contiguous zone northeast of Chiwei Yu (part of the disputed islands).
“I must stress once again that Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated islands are China’s inherent territories and that China’s sovereignty over Diaoyu Dao has a solid historical and legal basis. The relevant actions of the Japanese side will by no means change the established fact that Diaoyu Dao belongs to China and neither will they shake China’s firm resolve to safeguard the territorial sovereignty of Diaoyu Dao,” Kang said.
Japan controls the uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. They are referred to as the Senkaku in Japan, while China refers to them as Diaoyu.