A Japanese Oyashio-class submarine joined a number of other JMSDF units for an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) drill in the South China Sea last week.
This is reportedly the first time that Japan’s defense ministry has confirmed the participation of a submarine in a drill in the disputed South China Sea region.
According to the defense ministry, diesel-electric submarine JS Kuroshio (SS-596) joined helicopter carrier JS Kaga and destroyers JS Inazuma and JS Suzutsuki on September 13 for an ASW exercise.
Defense minister Itsunori Onodera noted that the exercise was “not directed or targeted at any country”, adding that several exercises involving submarines in the South China Sea took place in the past 15 years.
Commenting on the event, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the situation in the South China Sea had stabilized and taken on a good trend. “We urge the relevant non-regional country to respect the efforts made by the regional countries to peacefully resolve the South China Sea issue through dialogue, act cautiously and refrain from doing anything that will undermine regional peace and stability,” Shuang said at a regular press conference on September 17.
After wrapping up the South China Sea drills, JS Kuroshio headed to Vietnam, arriving at Cam Ranh on September 17 for a five-day goodwill visit.