Date: 26 October 2021

Russian And Chinese Vessels Pass Through Japanese Straits

The Russia-China strategic cooperation is intensifying as evidenced by their joint drills in the Sea of Japan and their patrols including 109 vessels transiting twice between the islands of Japan.


Chinese and Russian naval vessels passed together through the Osumi Strait off Japan’s southwestern prefecture of Kagoshima, the Japanese Defense Ministry said on October 24. It is the first time that a flotilla of Chinese and Russian vessels went through the strait, located between the Osumi Peninsula and Tanegashima Island. The day before, the Russian defense ministry informed about the patrols. Between October 17 and 23, a group of five Russian and five Chinese vessels held the first joint patrol in the western Pacific, the ministry said in a statement. They sailed through 3,000 kilometers and staged joint tactical maneuvers and drills. Meanwhile, the Russian ships were those of the Pacific Fleet: the destroyers Admiral Tributs and Admiral Panteleyev, the Project 20380 corvettes Gromkiy and Hero of the Russian Federation Aldar Tsydenzhapov, and the missile range instrumentation ship Marshal Krylov. The fleet had been taking part in joint military drills with China in the Sea of Japan earlier this month. Back then, on October 15, Moscow said a U.S. Navy ship made an attempt to cross the Russian sea border. The United States yet claims that a U.S. destroyer, the USS Chafee, was conducting routine operations in international water when a Russian destroyer, the Admiral Tributs, came within about 60 meters of it. The incident occurred in the Peter the Great Gulf. After wrapping up the drills, the Russians and the Chinese conducted the patrol. Chinese and Russian vessels have for the first time jointly traversed the Tsugaru Strait in between Honshu and Hokkaido islands. The strait narrows to just 19.5 kilometers wide and is international waters open to foreign ships just through the middle. The strip of unclaimed water permitted U.S. ships carrying nuclear weapons to transit the strait in the Cold War era. The loophole was exploited, restricting Japan’s territorial waters to a minimum not to violate the country’s commitment of not stocking atomic weapons. Once en route from the ocean, Russian and Japanese vessels again transited a strait between the two islands of Japan. The joint operation of the Chinese and Russian navies confirms the increasing military cooperation between the two countries. These incidents took place close to Japan, which is a key U.S. ally in this region.

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