This week, eight vessels from China and Russia were spotted close to Japanese waters as tensions between the two nations and Tokyo grew over the Ukraine and Taiwan issues.
On June 21, Japan’s Defense Ministry stated its forces had identified five Russian vessels, commanded by an anti-submarine destroyer, passing through the Tsushima Strait, which separates Japan and South Korea.
For a week, the Russian flotilla sailed close to the key Japanese islands, from Hokkaido in the north to Okinawa in the south.
On June 21, around 500 kilometres from Tokyo, in the Izu Islands, at least two Chinese warships and a supply ship were found. One of these vessels seems to be the Lhasa, the second Type 055 class stealth destroyer and one of China’s most technologically sophisticated warships.
Since June 12, a number of Chinese warships have been cruising in waters close to Japan, according to the Japanese Ministry of Defense.
James Brown, an associate professor of political science at Temple University in Tokyo, claimed that “Russia and China are clearly displaying their strength” in this situation. “Japan is really worried about these operations. The Japan Self-Defense Forces’ resources would also be put under strain by having to monitor the movements of both Russian and Chinese warships.”
Whether the Russian and Chinese warship groups would coordinate their actions, as they did in October of last year, when a combined total of 10 Russian and Chinese warships travelled through the Tsugaru Strait in the centre of the main island, is unclear. Island of Hokkaido and Japan. Following their participation in the Naval Interaction 2021 exercise in the Sea of Japan, the group of ships navigated the Tsugaru Strait and entered the Pacific Ocean.
The Chinese and Russian air forces conducted combined patrols in the Sea of Japan, East China Sea, and Western Pacific Ocean last month, when Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida hosted a Quad summit with the leaders of the United States, Australia, and India in Tokyo. The action was described by the Chinese Defense Ministry as a component of a yearly schedule of military drills between the two nations.
According to Associate Professor Brown, Beijing’s actions to demonstrate displeasure with Tokyo are motivated by a number of factors, including Japan’s hosting of the Quad summit.
He claimed that as Beijing views the security of Taiwan as an internal concern, “China is quite furious by Japan’s pronouncements regarding Taiwan’s security.”
President Joe Biden stated during the Quad meeting that if China attempted to annex Taiwan militarily, the US would interfere. The US nevertheless retained a significant military presence in Japan, indicating that its military might take part in any confrontation involving Taiwan, the White House later clarified, claiming that the US’ policy of “strategic ambiguity” towards Taiwan remained intact.
Beijing is open to using force to unite Taiwan. Japan, meanwhile, considers a threat to national security the war over the Taiwan Strait.
According to Brown, Japan recently infuriated Russia by supporting Ukraine after Moscow commenced a military operation in the neighbouring nation in late February. In opposition to the military action, Japan slapped sanctions on Russia and expelled Moscow’s ambassadors.
According to Brown, Russia appears to seek to intimidate Japan with its military power in the hopes that this will stop Tokyo from enacting more sanctions. A true alliance between Russia and China is “Japan’s geopolitical nightmare.”