Japanese DM concerned over submarine near disputed islands

TOKYO, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera on Monday expressed grave concern over recent entry of a Chinese nuclear submarine into Japan’s contiguous zone near disputed islands in the East China Sea.

“The ministry has identified the vessel as China’s Shang-class nuclear-powered attack submarine. Nuclear-powered submarines are difficult to detect because they can remain far beneath the surface for extended periods,” Onodera told reporters.

According to the ministry, the new Shang-class attack submarine was a 110 meter-long vessel.

“Operating a submerged submarine close to another country’s territory goes against the norms of international rules. We are seriously concerned over China’s moves that unilaterally raise tensions,” Onodera said, adding that the submarine is capable of loading long-range cruise missiles. “We will continue to respond to the issue calmly and firmly.” On Thursday, Japan spotted the submarine traveling underwater in the contiguous zone adjacent to the Japanese territorial waters close to the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands.

Tokyo immediately lodged a protest with Beijing after the incident, urging it not to hamper a shift toward improved Japan-China relations. The small chain of uninhabited rocky islands, known as Diaoyu in China and Tiaoyutai in Taiwan, lie in rich fishing grounds and waters thought to contain large deposits of oil and natural gas.

Source: Kuwait News Agency