Report of Japan training with US Navy in South China Sea draws Beijing’s notice
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan – China reacted cautiously on Tuesday to reports that Japan’s largest warship may deploy on a three-month patrol to include training with the U.S. Navy in the South China Sea.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that Japan has not yet said anything publicly about its plans for the helicopter destroyer JS Izumo, Japan’s largest ship since the end of WWII.
Japan plans to dispatch the ship to the South China Sea in May, three unnamed sources stated in a Reuters report on Monday. A later CNN report stated that the Izumo would also train with U.S. and Indian ships at the Malabar sea exercise later this year, citing a Pentagon source.
“If it only visits several countries normally and passes through the South China Sea normally, we have no objection and hope that the normal exchanges between the countries concerned will play a catalytic role in regional peace and stability,” Hua told reporters Tuesday, according to a transcript on the China Foreign Ministry website. “But if they are going to the South China Sea with other intentions, it is another matter.”
China has often criticized Japan in recent years over regional security issues and particularly over the Japan-administered Senkaku Islands, which China claims as its own.
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