Japan plans to increase its engagement in the South China Sea by conducting joint training patrols with the U.S. Navy and other exercises with regional navies, nudging China’s extensive territorial claims in the region.
Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada said during remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., on Thursday that Japan “will increase its engagement in the South China Sea through, for example, Maritime Self-Defense Force joint training cruises with the U.S. Navy, bilateral and multi-lateral exercises with regional navies, as well as providing capacity building assistance to coastal nations.”
China’s sovereignty claims over disputed territory in the South China Sea have been a source of deep tension in the region, especially in the wake of an international tribunal ruling that found Beijing’s claims to have no historical or legal basis. China and Japan also both claim sovereignty over the Senkaku islands in the East China Sea, straining relations between the two countries.
China reportedly warned Japan against sending Self-Defense Forces to join U.S. freedom of navigation exercises in the South China Sea earlier this year, calling it a “red line.”
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