China and Russia’s naval ships are sailing through the Japan Strait together

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On Monday (October 18), a fleet of ten Chinese and Russian navy boats passed across a strait dividing Japan’s main island and the northern island of Hokkaido, according to the Japanese government, which said it is closely monitoring such operations.
It was the first time Japan verified the passage of Chinese and Russian navy warships through the Tsugaru Strait, which connects the Sea of Japan with the Pacific Ocean. Even though the strait is considered international territory, Japan’s relations with China have long been strained by competing claims to a series of small East China Sea islets. Tokyo and Moscow have a territory issue.
“The administration is paying careful attention to Chinese and Russian navy vessels’ actions in the vicinity of Japan, such as this one,” Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihiko Isozaki said during a routine press conference on Tuesday. “In our monitoring activity in the waters and airspace around Japan, we will continue to do whatever we can.”
According to a spokeswoman for the Japanese Defence Ministry, the transit of the warships did not violate Japanese territorial seas or international norms.
From October 14 to 17, Russia and China performed joint naval manoeuvres in the Sea of Japan as part of their naval cooperation. The drills involved warships and support boats from Russia’s Pacific Fleet.
In recent years, Moscow and Beijing have developed stronger military and diplomatic ties when their relations with the West have deteriorated.

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