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Iran Press TV

Japan premier warns of military response to foreign submarines

Iran Press TV

Tue May 14, 2013 2:8PM GMT

Japanese prime minister says foreign submarines could face a military response if they enter his county’s territorial waters while underwater, as Japan and China’s dispute over a group of islands in the East China Sea continues.

Shinzo Abe issued the warning on Tuesday after the Japanese Defense Ministry said an underwater vessel was detected in the contiguous waters - a 12 nautical mile strip outside territorial waters - close to one of Japan's Okinawa islands, from late Sunday to early Monday.

“These are serious acts. If (submarines) enter our territorial waters while underwater, we would have to implement maritime security action,” Abe told Japan's parliament on Tuesday.

Based on international laws, vessels are allowed to pass freely through the outer ring of waters, providing their intention is peaceable.

Submarines are required to rise to the surface of water and show their flag if they navigate into territorial waters.

However, Tokyo did not confirm reports that the spotted sub belonged to Beijing.

The submarine was tracked close to territorial waters off Kume.

Meanwhile, Japan’s coast guard said three Chinese maritime surveillance ships entered the 12-nautical-mile zone off the disputed islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, shortly after 9:00 a.m. local time on Monday (0000 GMT).

Japan and China have long been in a dispute over the sovereignty of the uninhabited islands, which are located near a crucial shipping lane and would give the owner exclusive oil, mineral and fishing rights in the surrounding waters.

On September 11, 2012, Tokyo signed a deal to buy three of the islands from their private Japanese owner in line with plans to nationalize the archipelago.

In late April, Abe said Tokyo would “expel by force” any Chinese individuals landing on the islands, following an incident where eight Chinese vessels entered the disputed waters.


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