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Chinese navy vessels prowl Okinawa waters

Date Posted: 2011-06-16

A group of eight Chinese navy ships have been spotted winding their way across seas between Okinawa Island and Miyako Island some 400 kilometers south.

The Japanese Defense Ministry says one group of three vessels was spotted traveling at 30 kilometers an hour about 100 kilometers northeast of Miyako. The Japan Maritime Self Defense Force says the group included a submarine rescue ship, reinforcing Japan thinking that submarines are accompanying the Chinese Navy on the missions near the Japanese Islands.

The second group of Chinese Navy vessels included three destroyers. It was spotted in the same region, proceeding toward the Pacific. Japanese officials say the Chinese had not violated Japanese sovereignty, remaining in international waters, but expressed concern about the growing strength of Chinaís forces.

Last April, two submarines were part of a 10-vessel fleet sailing in the same waters. During that excursion, a Chinese Navy helicopter approached a Maritime Self Defense Force destroyer twice, approaching to within 90 meters.

Japanís Defense Minister, Toshimi Kitazawa, and Liang Guanglie, his Chinese counterpart, have agreed to speed up consultations aimed at establishing maritime communications that would prevent incidents between the two countries.

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