10 China, Russia Warships Pass through Soya Strait

Courtesy of Defense Ministry
A Chinese destoryer that paasses through Soya Straint

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — A total of 10 Chinese and Russian naval vessels passed through the Soya Strait between Cape Soya in the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido and the Russian island of Sakhalin from Friday to Saturday, according to the Japanese Defense Ministry.

Of the 10 vessels including destroyers and replenishment ships, nine were those that joined China-Russia joint military drills held in the Sea of Japan through Sunday, the ministry’s Joint Staff Office said Saturday.

Japan is continuing vigilance and surveillance activities, believing that the Chinese and Russian ships have shifted to joint sailing operations.

According to the ministry, the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force spotted the 10 vessels sailing at a spot in the Sea of Japan about 200 kilometers southwest of Rebun Island in Hokkaido around 3 p.m. Friday.

They sailed east through the Soya Strait from Friday night to Saturday morning and entered the Sea of Okhotsk.

It was the first China-Russia joint naval vessel sailing near Japan since September last year, when seven Chinese and Russian ships traveled from the Tsugaru Strait between Hokkaido and Japan’s Honshu main island to the Osumi Strait in Kagoshima prefecture, southwestern Japan.

China and Russia have been deepening their military cooperation. In June this year, Chinese and Russian bombers flew near Japan for two days in a row.