Chinese Submarines, Destroyers Spotted in High Seas Near Okinawa

China’s new DDG 170 guided missile destroyer features Aegis-type phased array antennas and a ship-to-ship missile control Bandstand radome dominating the bridge. The ship’s numerous foreign weapons and new radomes hint at the complexity of its electronic functions.

 (AP) –

 TOKYO, April 13 (Kyodo)

Two Chinese submarines and eight destroyers were spotted by the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force on Saturday in the high seas between the main island of Okinawa and Miyako Island in the southernmost prefecture, Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa said Tuesday.

The defense chief said the Chinese submarines and destroyers were navigating southeastward, adding that Tokyo has never before confirmed such a large number of Chinese vessels near Japan.

“We will investigate whether (China) has any intention against our nation” by dispatching the vessels, Kitazawa said.

The Joint Staff Office of the Self-Defense Forces later said that Chinese submarines were seen on the sea surface near Japan for the first time and that Beijing had not notified Tokyo of the fleet navigation in the East China Sea toward the Pacific Ocean.

Two MSDF destroyers Choukai and Suzunami spotted the fleet of Chinese combatant craft in the sea near the Nansei Islands about 140 kilometers west-southwest of the Okinawa main island around 8 p.m. Saturday. Those Chinese vessels conducted refueling on the sea on Sunday, according to the office.

Flight training of helicopters aboard some of the Chinese destroyers was conducted between last Wednesday and Friday in the East China Sea and one of the choppers flew some 90 meters away from the MSDF destroyer Suzunami, the office said.

Japan has made an inquiry to China through diplomatic channels about the submarine navigation and lodged a protest over the helicopter’s proximate flight, which it deems dangerous, according to the office.

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