China will not tolerate Japan interfering in its internal affairs, Chinese experts have said, seeing a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy flotilla in waters near Japanese islands following Japan’s recent comments on the Chinese island of Taiwan.
The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force sighted a PLA Navy flotilla consisting of a Type 055 large destroyer Lhasa, a Type 052D destroyer, a Type 054A frigate, and a Type 903A integral replenishment ship as the ships sailed west between two islands of southern Japan on Thursday, the Japanese Defense Ministry Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a press release that day.
The PLA Navy flotilla was first seen on April 30 when it sailed from the East China Sea through the Tsushima Strait into the Sea of Japan; then, on May 5-6, it sailed from the Sea of Japan through the Soya Strait into the Western Pacific, according to the Japanese press release.
This means that Chinese warships are likely to circumnavigate Japan in a clockwise direction, as shown on a map with the flotilla’s recorded routes.
Although the trip is likely to be a routine offshore exercise by the People’s Liberation Army Navy that does not violate any international law or target third parties, it could be seen as a strong message to Japan, experts say.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida stated in an interview with Nikkei Asia published on Wednesday that the Taiwan question is an issue of importance not only for Japan but for the whole world.
On the same day, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi also stated that Japan has protested to China through diplomatic channels over “extremely inappropriate” comments related to Tokyo’s policy towards the island of Taiwan made by the ambassador. Chinese in Japan, Wu Jianghao.
At a conference held on April 28, Wu said the view that the island of Taiwan is related to Japan’s security is “absurd and dangerous.”
The development of China’s national defense is aimed at safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests, but China will not tolerate Japan interfering in its internal affairs, Chinese military expert Song Zhongping told the Global Times on Thursday.
As the trip demonstrated, Song said, China has sufficient capacity to counter Japan’s provocations.
Liu Jiangyong, vice dean of the Institute of Modern International Relations at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times that 2022 marked the 50th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan relations and was expected to serve as a new beginning for the improvement of bilateral relations ties. Unfortunately, however, Japan persisted in exaggerating “Chinese threats” and even labeled China as an “unprecedented strategic challenge.”
According to Liu, following the new national security plans, Japan would likely become a dangerous country that could take military action against other countries in the next five to ten years.