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Chinese Navy vessels slide through southern Okinawa

Date Posted: 2010-07-08

A Chinese naval exercise off the country’s east coast is attracting attention from the United States, Korea and Japan because of where the ships are moving.

Two vessels—a destroyer and a frigate—were tracked as they maneuvered through international waters between Okinawa’s main island and Miyako Sunday. China’s Navy has engaged in an exercise in the Yellow Sea, north of the East China Sea, including live-fire exercises off the country’s Zhejiang Province. Japan’s Defense Ministry says it has been monitoring the Chinese Navy activity, noting that the Chinese have become more adventurous, moving farther away from its coastal waters--and into international waters—in recent years.

The Chinese Navy’s latest exercise is believed to have been triggered by reports an American aircraft carrier, the USS George Washington based at Yokusuka in Kanagawa Prefecture, will participate in joint exercises with South Korea later this month. The Chinese global journal Huanqiu Shibao says the Chinese East Sea Fleet, which considers the Yellow sea to be its “backyard”, views the U.S. carrier’s presence as “an attempt to invade the Yellow Sea using the sinking as a pretext.” The sinking refers to a South Korean corvette, the Cheonan, which was sunk March 26th. South Korea, the United States and some foreign nations have blamed North Korea for using a torpedo to sink the ROK ship.

International observers say China views the passing of an American aircraft carrier through its waters as “a grave provocation against China and a threat, and could lead to military confrontation.”

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