Japan Supporting Philippines in China Row

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pledged support for Philippine maritime forces as both countries confront China in separate territorial disputes.

Following a meeting with Philippine President Benigno Aquino on Saturday, Abe announced Japan would provide a concessional loan to build 10 coast guard patrol boats for the Philippines.

Aquino says the two reviewed security challenges both countries are facing and promised to co-operate to push for what he calls responsible action from international players in a reference to China.

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Japan MPs visit controversial war Yasukuni shrine amid islands tension

NEARLY 170 MPs have visited a controversial war shrine seen as potent symbol of Japan’s imperialist past, stoking regional tensions as eight Chinese vessels sailed into disputed waters.

The annual trip to the Yasukuni shrine, which usually draws a far smaller number of legislators, has riled neighbours China and South Korea, which lodged protests after several Japanese cabinet members visited at the weekend.

A total of 168 parliamentarians visited the site in central Tokyo on Tuesday morning according to upper house member of parliament Toshiei Mizuochi.

The shrine honours 2.5 million war dead, including 14 leading war criminals enshrined there, but is seen by Japan’s Asian neighbours as a symbol of its wartime aggression.

The visit came a day after South Korea shelved a proposed trip by Foreign Minister Yun Byung-Se to Tokyo in protest at trips by Japanese cabinet ministers to the shrine.

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Japan PM vows to expel by force any Chinese landing on disputed islands

Japan’s prime minister on Tuesday vowed to “expel by force” any Chinese landing on islands at the centre of a territorial row, after eight Chinese government vessels sailed into disputed waters.

“We would take decisive action against any attempt to enter territorial waters and to land” on the islands, Mr Shinzo Abe told parliament in response to questions from lawmakers.


Eight Chinese government ships have entered Japanese territorial waters near disputed islands, the most in a single day since Tokyo nationalised part of the archipelago, the Japanese government says. A flotilla of boats carrying more than 80 Japanese nationalists had arrived in waters near the islands on Tuesday, risking further straining Tokyos already tense relations with its Asian neighbours.Japan’s coastguard confirmed the Chinese vessels had entered waters near the East China Sea island chain.The maritime surveillance ships entered the 12-nautical-mile zone off the Senkaku chain of islands, which China calls the Diaoyu, about 8am 9am AEST, the Japan Coast Guard said in a statement.State-owned Chinese ships have frequently spent time around the five disputed islands, also claimed by Taiwan, in recent months.

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Japan Coastguard Arrests Another China Boat Captain

Japan’s coastguard arrested the captain of a Chinese boat on suspicion of illegal fishing in its exclusive economic zone on Tuesday, officials said, amid a territorial row between the two countries.

The coral fishing boat with a crew of 11 was spotted by a coastguard patrol plane in waters about 44km northeast of Miyako island in the Okinawan chain, the coastguard official said.

The captain, aged 44, whose name has yet to be disclosed, was arrested on suspicion of fishing in the exclusive maritime zone without permission from Japan, the coastguard said.

“After receiving information from our aeroplane, three of our patrol boats approached the Chinese ship, and they are now sailing back to Miyako with the Chinese ship,” the spokesperson said.

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Abe’s Done It! Japan PM Demands Apology from China Over Weapons-locked Radar

Shinzo Abe, the prime minister, angrily rejected Chinese denials that it had engaged military radars in the area as the escalating dispute between Tokyo and Beijing forced the Japanese foreign ministry call in the Chinese ambassador for a dressing down.

Statements issued in Beijing flatly denied its forces had engaged the offensive radar systems, dismissing the Japanese claims about the incident, which took place last month, as “against the facts”.

“We wish China to acknowledge it, apologise for it and make efforts to prevent it from recurring,” he said. “We have confirmed visually and by photographs and other means such details as whether the radar was directed this way.”

Mr Abe told parliament that China’s increasing aggression in the East China Sea around the Senkakus was forcing his government to adopt a “robust diplomatic response”.

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Japan Arrests Captain of Chinese Fishing Boat

Japan’s coastguard says it has arrested the captain of a Chinese fishing boat on suspicion of fishing in the country’s exclusive economic zone.

It says the coral fishing boat with a crew of 13 was stopped by a coastguard patrol in waters some 46 kilometres northeast of Miyako island in the Okinawan chain.

The boat’s captain was arrested for allegedly fishing in the exclusive maritime zone without permission from Japan.

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Chinese Peoples Liberation Army Navy Fleet Sets for West Pacific Training

A Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy fleet has set off from a military port in east China’s Qingdao City for regular open-sea training in the West Pacific Ocean, military sources revealed Wednesday.

The fleet departed Tuesday morning and comprises three ships — the missile destroyer Qingdao and the missile frigates Yantai and Yancheng — carrying three helicopters, all from the North China Sea Fleet under the PLA Navy.

During the voyage, the fleet is scheduled to conduct multi-program training sessions in the sea area where China has been carrying out regular patrols, according to the sources.

Tian Zhong, the fleet commander, said in an interview with Xinhua that conducting training in international waters is normal practice among various navies around the world, as well as part of China’s regular efforts to improve the PLA Navy’s combat capabilities.

The fleet aims to boost its capabilities in carrying out diversified military missions through the open-sea training, according to Tian.

The fleet will conduct more than 20 types of exercises, including maritime confrontation, open-sea mobile combat, law enforcement missions and open-sea naval commanding.

The training area will include the Yellow, East China and South China seas, the Miyako Strait, the Bashi Channel and the sea area east of Taiwan.

As part of the ongoing open-sea training, the fleet held a four-hour maritime confrontation drill in the Yellow Sea on Tuesday with another PLA Navy fleet set to depart for escort missions in sea areas off Somalia.

The missile destroyer Qingdao and the missile frigates Yantai and Yancheng are all domestically-produced capital ships of the PLA Navy.

The Qingdao, which is among China’s second-generation missile destroyers, was commissioned in 1993 and has taken part in more than 50 key missions, including escort missions in the Gulf of Aden. It has a displacement of 4,800 tonnes.

In 2002, as a commanding ship of a Chinese fleet, the vessel completed the PLA Navy’s first global voyage.

The Yantai and Yancheng, among China’s newest type of missile frigates, were commissioned by the North China Sea Fleet in 2011 and 2012, respectively. They both have a displacement of 4,050 tonnes.

Also on Wednesday, the defense ministry announced in a statement that a Chinese navy fleet will conduct a training exercise in the Pacific after sailing through the island chain.

The statement from the ministry’s information office said it is a regular arrangement in line with the navy’s annual training plan, adding that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy conducted seven similar training exercises last year.



China Announces Naval Exercise Near Disputed Islands

China said Wednesday that its navy would proceed with a deep-water training exercise amid a continuing spat with Japan over disputed islands in the East China Sea that has sparked regular confrontations among patrol boats from each side.

The Defense Ministry said in a statement on its website that the previously scheduled exercise would take place in the coming days in the Pacific, beyond where the islands are located, and where deep waters are ideal for anti-submarine drills.

The navy, which last year launched China’s first aircraft carrier, held seven such drills last year, each involving a half-dozen or more surface ships and an unknown number of submarines. The exercises reflect China’s long-held aspirations to build a navy that can operate far from its shores.

Ships taking part in such exercises before have passed just north of the disputed islands, which lie midway between Taiwan and the Japanese island of Okinawa. Training takes place farther out to sea, although the exact location is not announced.

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US Warns China of Staking Claim to Japan Owned Senkaku Islands

The United States has warned China about staking claim to the Japan owned Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, saying that it will oppose any unilateral action in this regard.

The warning came in light of the continued violation of Japan’s airspace and waters around the uninhabited islets by Chinese planes and ships.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a meeting with Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, said Washington is obligated to defend the Senkaku islet group if it comes under attack under the bilateral security treaty between the US and Japan, the Japan Times reports.

Clinton added that the US has acknowledged Japan’s legal ownership of the Senkakus, although U.S. does not take a position on the ultimate sovereignty of the islands. Clinton also urged Tokyo and Beijing to resolve the dispute peacefully.

Japan purchased three of the main Senkaku islets in 2011, whose sovereignty is contested by both China and Taiwan.

Insisting that the Senkakus are an integral part of Japan’s territory, Kishida said his government would not compromise on its long-standing position that no dispute exists over their sovereignty.

Kishida, however, hoped for reduced tensions and increased stability between China and Japan, after Clinton’s statement.

Japan Says May Fire Warning Shots in China Dispute Over Islands

Japan says it may fire warning shots and take other measures to keep foreign aircraft from violating its airspace in the latest verbal blast between Tokyo and Beijing that raises concerns that a dispute over hotly contested islands could spin out of control.

Japanese officials made the comments after Chinese fighters tailed its warplanes near the islands recently. The incident is believed to be the first scrambling of Chinese fighters since the tensions began to rise last spring.

According to Chinese media, a pair of J-10 fighters was scrambled after Japanese F-15s began tailing a Chinese surveillance plane near the disputed islands in the East China Sea. China has complained the surveillance flight did not violate Japanese airspace and the F-15s were harassing it.

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