NewsBreak: Chinese warships sail around Japan as tensions rise ahead of G7 summit

A Chinese naval flotilla led by a powerful destroyer has been on a 12-day circumnavigation of Japan’s main islands in a display of military power as tensions simmer over Taiwan and as Japan prepares to host G7 leaders next week.

Japan’s Defense Ministry on Thursday released a map showing the Type 055 guided missile destroyer Lhasa, one of the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s most powerful warships, leading a four-ship flotilla that also included a smaller destroyer, a frigate and a supply ship on the clockwise circumnavigation.

The Japanese map shows the voyage began April 30 in the Tsushima Strait between South Korea and Japan, progressed through the Tsugaru Strait at the northern tip of Hokkaido on May 5 and 6 and then was in the Izu island chain south of Tokyo on Thursday.

In a story published after the Japanese Defense Ministry release Thursday, China’s state-run Global Times linked the flotilla’s journey to “Japan’s recent provocative remarks” about Taiwan, the democratically ruled island over which the Chinese Communist Party claims sovereignty despite never having ruled it.

“While the voyage is likely a routine PLA Navy far sea exercise that does not violate any international law or target any third party, it could be seen as a strong message to Japan,” the Global Times report said, citing Chinese experts

“We are already in discussions, but no details (have been) finalized yet,” Hayashi said.

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