A Japanese submarine has visited a former US naval base located on the edge of China’s territorial claim, despite Beijing’s warnings.
A Japanese submarine has visited a former US naval base located on the edge of China’s territorial claim.
On July 24, Tokyo was warned by Beijing against meddling in the South China Sea conflict, where the Hague Tribunal had recently ruled against China’s nine-dash line territorial claims.
“Japan is not a party to the South China Sea issue, and considering its shameful history, it has no rights whatsoever to accuse China on the matter,” the Xinhua news agency quoted the words of Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang.
However, this did not prevent one of the newest and largest Japanese submarine to visit a former US naval base in Subic Bay, in the Philippines, being escorted by two Japanese destroyers.
The incident took place one day before the annual Balikatan military exercise, in which the Philippines, the United States, Australia, and Japan are going to take part over the next 12 days.
Tokyo states that the submarine’s arrival in the South China Sea is not aimed at any country. Beijing has not yet commented the incident.
“We don’t have any message to any country,” the China Daily information website quoted the words of the Captain of Japan’s Maritime Defense Force, Hiraoki Yoshino.
The US and its Pacific allies oppose China’s construction of artificial islands in the Spratly and Paracel archipelagos, and accuse the country of attempting to establish an air defense zone. China says that its islands will be used primarily for civilian purposes, and the country has every right to build within its own territory. Nevertheless, the US has pushed regional allies to play a more active role in countering China’s growth. Balikatan of the last year was similarly seen as a way to provoke Beijing.