Japan keeping close eye on Chinese warships near island
TOKYO (AP) - Japanese military officials said they were keeping a close eye on seven Chinese warships spotted in waters off a southern island on Tuesday. It was unclear whether the ship movements were related to a territorial dispute that has prompted both countries to show off their maritime muscles.
The Chinese ships were sighted about 49 km from the island of Yonaguni, in Japan's Okinawa prefecture, according to Japan's Defense Ministry. They were about 200 km from a chain of small islands that have sparked a heated dispute between Japan and China.
The ships were believed to be returning to China after training in the Pacific.
Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto said Japan is monitoring the ships' movement. Japan considers the area part of its contiguous waters, but it is not illegal for foreign vessels to transit them.