BEIJING (Sputnik) — China will take the necessary response measures if Japan sends its largest warship, the Izumo helicopter carrier, on a three-month tour to the South China Sea, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Thursday at a briefing.
Earlier this week, media reports emerged that Japan planned to send the Izumo on a tour with stops in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka in order to test the ship’s capabilities before joining the Malabar joint maneuvers with India and the United States.
“Based on its own interests, Japan has recently been creating problems and polarization over the issue of the South China Sea. This approach has caused strong resentment of the Chinese citizens. Japan continues to do this, and the attempts to have military presence in the South China Sea indicate a threat to the interests of China and increase tensions in the region. China, of course, will take countermeasures in this case,” Hua said.
Hua added that the situation in the South China Sea was improving in comparison with the last year due to the efforts of the regional states, and countries outside of the region must respect the efforts to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.
Hua noted that Tokyo was not a party involved in disputes over the South China Sea, and Japan should reflect on its history and refrain from steps that could harm peace and stability in the region.
China and several countries in the region, namely Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines, are involved in a dispute on maritime borders and responsibility areas in the South China and East China seas. Japan and China have had a territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands, called in Chinese the Diaoyu Islands, since the 1970s. Japan controls the territory, while China lays claim to it.
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