Japan To Deploy Patrol Ship With Helicopters Near Islands Disputed With China - Reports

(@FahadShabbir)

Japan to Deploy Patrol Ship With Helicopters Near Islands Disputed With China - Reports

Japan will deploy a patrol vessel with two helicopters on board near the Senkaku Islands disputed with China as tensions in the region continue to mount, local media reported

TOKYO (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 14th June, 2019) Japan will deploy a patrol vessel with two helicopters on board near the Senkaku Islands disputed with China as tensions in the region continue to mount, local media reported.

The brand new 500-feet-long ship capable of carrying two helicopters will be stationed on the Ishigaki Island in Japan's Okinawa prefecture that is located in close proximity to the contested islands, Sankei Shimbun newspaper said late Thursday. The ship will be available to the country's Maritime Self-Defense Force in 2021.

Such a decision was mainly attributed to the fact that Chinese vessels has regularly appeared in the area of the disputed islands over the past two months.

On Tuesday, Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning and a number of other vessels sailed between two islands of the Okinawa prefecture. The ships were heading from the East China Sea to the Pacific Ocean.

Japanese fleet seems to be much smaller than the one belonging to its neighbor. According to Japanese media, Tokyo has 67 large ships, while the number of similar vessels in China stands at 145. Thus, the Japanese government intends to strengthen the security service at sea by equipping its navy with more brand new patrol ships.

Beijing and Tokyo claim the Senkaku Islands, referred to by China as the Diaoyu Islands since they are located next to important shipping routes, and potentially large oil and gas fields. Japan claims it has possessed the islands since 1895, while Beijing insists that it had owned them since the 14th century.

After World War II, the United States took control of the islands and then returned them to Japan, its close ally. China still claims that Japan controls the territory illegally.

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