Japan tracks eight Russian and Chinese warships near its territory

Japan’s Defense Ministry on Tuesday said its forces observed five Russian warships, led by an anti-submarine destroyer, passing through the Tsushima Strait that separates Japan and South Korea.

The Russian flotilla of five ships has been off the Japanese islands for a week now, from Hokkaido in the north to Okinawa in the south, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, at least two Chinese warships and a supply ship were spotted on Tuesday off the Izu Islands, about 500 kilometers south of the capital Tokyo. One of these ships was the Lhasa. Type 55 guided missile destroyer and one of China’s most powerful surface ships.

The ministry said the group has been operating in waters off Japan since June 12.

This image released by the Japanese Ministry of Defense shows the Russian Navy destroyer Admiral Panteleev.

“This is a clear show of strength from both Russia and China,” said James Brown, an assistant professor of political science at Temple University in Tokyo.

“This activity is of great concern to Japan. Last but not least, tracking the movement of both Russian and Chinese military forces drains the resources of the Japan Self-Defense Forces.”

There have been no statements from Tokyo that Russian and Chinese naval groups are coordinating their actions, as was the case last October, when in an exercise in which 10 Russian and Chinese warships jointly participated, they circled most of the Japanese archipelago.

Most recently, when Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida hosted the U.S.-Australian-Indian leaders summit in Tokyo, the Chinese and Russian air forces conducted joint strategic air patrols over the Sea of ​​Japan, the East China Sea, and the Western Pacific Ocean, which the Chinese Ministry of Defense described as part of the annual military cooperation plan.

Brown said that holding this summit in Kishida was just one of the reasons Beijing wanted to express its dissatisfaction with Tokyo.

“Beijing was outraged by Japan’s statements about the security of Taiwan, which the Chinese Communist Party considers an internal matter,” Brown said.

In fact, it was at the summit in Tokyo President Joe Biden announced US military intervention. if China tries to take over Taiwan by force. The White House later retracted that comment, but the US does maintain a strong military presence in Japan — troops that could play a role in any conflict over Taiwan.
China sent dozens of warplanes into the sky near Taiwan

Taiwan and mainland China have been ruled separately since the defeated Nationalists retreated to the island at the end of the Chinese Civil War more than 70 years ago.

But China’s ruling Communist Party sees the self-ruled island as part of its territory, despite never having controlled it.

Beijing does not exclude the use of military force to seize Taiwan, while Japan views the conflict across the Taiwan Strait as a threat to its security.

Meanwhile, Moscow is outraged by Ukraine’s support for Tokyo after Russian troops invaded their European neighbor nearly four months ago, Brown said. This support included the imposition of sanctions against Moscow and the expulsion of Russian diplomats.

“Therefore, Russia wants to use its military power to intimidate Japan in the hope that this will deter Tokyo from further imposing such measures,” Brown said.

Brown described the fact that Russian and Chinese naval actions this week did not seem to be coordinated as a “beam of hope” for Tokyo.

“Japan’s strategic nightmare is a genuine alliance between Russia and China,” he said.