China strongly warned Japan not to send SDF to South China Sea

(From Kyodo)

China strongly warned a high-level Japanese official around late June that Tokyo should not send its Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to join U.S. operations that test the freedom of navigation in the disputed South China Sea, diplomatic sources said Saturday.

A JMSDF soldier runs up the beach to set up a perimeter defense during a simulated beach assault at Marine Corps Base Hawaii with the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Unit during the multi-national military exercise RIMPAC in Kaneohe

A soldier with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) runs up the beach to set up a perimeter defense during a simulated beach assault at Marine Corps Base Hawaii with the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Unit during the multi-national military exercise RIMPAC in Kaneohe, Hawaii, July 30, 2016. REUTERS/Hugh Gentry

Japan will “cross a red line” if SDF vessels take part in U.S. freedom of navigation operations, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Cheng Yonghua told the Japanese official, the sources said, adding that the ambassador even hinted at military action if Japan crosses the line.

The warning was issued just as an international tribunal was about to rule on conflicting claims in those waters.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled July 12 that China’s sweeping claims to most of the South China Sea, which overlap with those of the Philippines and other neighboring countries, have no legal basis.

China has rejected the ruling, while the United States and Japan have called on Beijing to respect the decision. Read More



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