A Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) training squadron is set to call at a Chinese port during a training cruise for the first time in history, it has emerged.
MSDF Chief of Staff Keiji Akahoshi has announced that an MSDF training squadron will call at Qingdao sometime around mid-October.
"The port call is part of our bilateral defense exchanges. I view it as a step forward," Akahoshi said.
The MSDF has conducted an ocean training cruise every year since 1957, but it has never called at any Chinese port.
The squadron is comprised of three vessels including a destroyer and about 730 MSDF trainees including officer candidates are participating in the cruise. It left Japan in May and will return to Japan after exchanges with the navies of various countries.
The MSDF and Chinese Navy have deepened exchanges with each other in recent years. In November 2007, a Chinese missile destroyer called at Harumi pier in Tokyo, while the MSDF destroyer Sazanami stopped at a port in Guangdong province in June 2008.
However, Beijing denied an MSDF training squadron entry into a Hong Kong port in August last year in protest at Tokyo's issuance of a visa for the president of the World Uyghur Congress.
In April this year, 10 Chinese Navy vessels sailed in the high seas between Okinawa's main island and Miyako Island and conducted a drill in the Pacific Ocean. A Chinese Navy helicopter flew close to a MSDF destroyer, which was monitoring the drill, on two occasions.
(Mainichi Japan) July 21, 2010
US navy chief eyes China's 'opaque' sea power
PARIS — The head of the US Navy warned Wednesday of China's "opaque" intentions behind its growing naval might as it seeks to use sea power to bolster its strength on the world stage.
"The navy is growing to assure the flow of resources" to China's booming economy and is "developing very, very good capabilities," Admiral Gary Roughead, US chief of naval operations, told reporters in Paris.
"They are moving forward with a navy that is being seen more... in areas further from their homeland," he said.
"It's important to develop a cooperative relationship with the (Chinese) navy because they are somewhat opaque when it comes to intentions," he added.
"It's important that that becomes clearer not simply to us but all countries in the region and beyond."
Roughead spoke at the end of a visit to France during which he discussed cooperation with French naval leaders, with whom he oversees joint operations such as fighting Somalia-based pirates in the Gulf of Aden.
He hailed progress made by navies from various countries including China in jointly patrolling that key shipping route, where pirates have carried out numerous kidnappings, but warned it was a long-term struggle.
"Without the rule of law ashore, we'll be chasing pirates for quite a while," he said.
Roughead said he had visited the French nuclear aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle which is due to deploy in coming months to provide support for troops fighting alongside US and NATO forces against the Taliban in Afghanistan.
"The capability and the capacity that the Charles de Gaulle brings is greatly appreciated," he said.