Japanese submarine calls on central Vietnam port

By An Phuoc   September 17, 2018 | 06:49 pm PT
Japanese submarine calls on central Vietnam port
Japanese submarine Kuroshio docks at Cam Ranh Port in central Vietnam. Photo by the Vietnam News Agency
A Japanese submarine arrived in Vietnam’s Cam Ranh Port, a strategic deepwater base, Monday for a four-day visit.

This is the first time the Kuroshio is docking in Vietnamese waters.

The Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force vessel, which measures 82 meters in length, is carrying a crew of 80.

“This visit aims to strengthen the friendly relations between the two countries' militaries and navies, contributing to the comprehensive cooperation between the two countries,” Duong Nam Khanh, deputy director of the foreign affairs department of Khanh Hoa Province, home to Cam Ranh, said.

The Kuroshio’s crew will play games and hold professional exchanges with Vietnamese naval troops in charge of protecting the Spratly Islands besides making a trip to the resort town of Nha Trang, one hour north of Cam Ranh.

Last Thursday the Kuroshio also became the first Japanese submarine to take part in a naval drill in the South China Sea, Reuters reported Monday. Vietnam calls the waters the East Sea.

The exercise, conducted with other Japanese warships, is seen as an expansion of Japanese activity in the disputed waterway.

China claims virtually the entire area, including waters close to Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Its assertive stance has raised worries about confrontation.

The U.S. Navy has conducted so-called freedom of navigation patrols and has said it would like to see more countries challenge China in the waterway, through which some $3 trillion of ship-borne trade passes each year.

Last month, a British Royal Navy amphibious assault ship, HMS Albion, sailed close to the Paracel Islands claimed by China in the waters, which prompted a strong protest from China.

China seized the Paracels from South Vietnam by force in 1974 and has been occupying the archipelago illegally since, although Vietnam has repeatedly demonstrated legal and historical evidences to affirm its sovereignty rights.

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