TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Japan's defense ministry said on Sunday (Sept. 12) that a submarine believed to belong to the PLA navy was detected in waters surrounding its southern islands, as tensions persist between the two nations in the West Pacific.
On Friday morning (Sept. 10), Japan's navy identified a subaqueous vessel moving in a northwesterly direction near Amami Oshima island, according to Reuters. The ministry said a Chinese destroyer was also seen in the vicinity.
Tokyo has protested numerous intrusions by Chinese vessels into its territorial waters in recent years.
China has often rebuked the U.S. for sending ships through disputed areas of the South China Sea, which Washington calls freedom of navigation exercises.
During a recent visit to Vietnam, China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi (王毅), said China and Vietnam should avoid taking unilateral actions in the South China Sea that could magnify disputes. On Sunday, Japan’s Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi instructed staff to "gather information and maintain vigilant surveillance with a sense of urgency."
China's defense ministry has so far not responded to a request for comment.