Tokyo [Japan], April 5 (ANI): After China's carrier group was spotted passing the waterway between Okinawa and Miyako islands towards the Pacific on Saturday, Japan has sent destroyer JS Suzutsuki, a P-1 maritime patrol aircraft and a P-3C anti-submarine warfare patrol aircraft to gather information and monitor the movements of the Chinese vessels.
According to South China Morning Post (SCMP), China's carrier group includes the aircraft carrier Liaoning, one Renhai class stealth guided missile destroyer, two Luyang III class guided missile destroyers, one Jiangkai II multi-role frigate and one Fuyu class fast combat support ship.
Japan's joint staff confirmed in a statement on Sunday that it has deployed a destroyer to track the movements of the Chinese vessels.
This is the first time that China's Liaoning is known to pass this waterway since April last year. This comes after the US conducted its military exercises with its allies in the region, including the US aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt CSG entering the South China Sea on Sunday morning after a joint-exercise with the Indian Army.
The tension between China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force (SDF) in the East China Sea has escalated in recent months following Tokyo repeatedly voicing concerns over China's new coastguard law, reported SCMP.
The law allows China's military force to use weapons against foreign ships deemed illegally entering Beijing's waters.
Last month, Japan said China's coastguard had expanded its presence in the contested waters by entering twice a month and as frequently as twice a week near the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, known by the Chinese as Diaoyu.
Meanwhile, the US administration led by President Joe Biden has reaffirmed a pledge to oppose any unilateral action that threatens to undermine Japan's administration of the islands and that the US is obliged to defend Japan from any attack.
SCMP reported that China's defence ministry last week urged Japan to stop making provocative moves and refrain from attacking China over the disputed islands after the defence ministries of both countries held a virtual meeting.
Last week, two Chinese vessels illegally intruded in Japan's territorial waters in what Tokyo calls to be the 11th intrusion by Beijing this year.
Japan controls the Senkaku Islands, however, China and Taiwan continue to claim them. Tokyo maintains the islands are an inherent part of its territory as per history and international law. (ANI)