CrisisWatch China/Japan

Unchanged Situation

China continued maritime activity in East China Sea, while U.S. and Japan sought to further bolster defence ties. 

Beijing’s maritime activity around disputed areas persisted. As of 26 June, Japan reported 104 Chinese vessels entering Japan’s contiguous zone during month. Tokyo 7 June identified four Chinese Coast Guard vessels, reportedly armed with cannons, in Japan’s territorial sea near disputed area off Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. In rare occurrence, Chinese coast guard vessels entered into the territorial sea around the disputed islands for five days in a row 20-24 June. Netherlands’ defence ministry 8 June accused Chinese fighter jets of approaching Dutch navy frigate and helicopter in manner that “caused a potentially unsafe situation” in East China Sea; Beijing 11 June rejected accusations.

U.S. and Japan deepened defence ties. U.S. 7-18 June held biennial military exercise near Guam and Palau islands, Philippine Sea, including Japan for first time. Earlier, U.S., South Korean and Japanese coastguards 6 June engaged in first joint drill in Sea of Japan off Tango Peninsula. Japan and U.S. week of 10 June agreed to establish working groups on joint production of air defence missiles, warship and aircraft repairs and supply chain resiliency; 11 June held first such meeting on repair and maintenance of U.S. ships. Japan and U.S. officials 13-14 June discussed extended deterrence at Dialogue in Wyoming, U.S., focusing on threats from China’s and North Korea’s nuclear build-up and military cooperation with Russia. 

In other important developments. Japan 21 June imposed sanctions on companies in India, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan for alleged support of Russia’s war in Ukraine; including Chinese firms for first time for such motive.

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