Chinese and Russian naval vessels have passed together through the Osumi Strait off Japan's southwestern prefecture of Kagoshima, the Japanese defence ministry said on Saturday.
It is the first time the Japanese ministry has confirmed a flotilla of Chinese and Russian vessels going through the strait, located between the Osumi Peninsula and Tanegashima Island, Kyodo News reported. The Osumi Strait is a strait between Honshu and Hokkaido in northern Japan connecting the Sea of Japan with the Pacific Ocean.
With the passage, the flotilla almost made a circle around the Japanese archipelago, prompting the ministry to exercise vigilance against the unusual activity of the two countries.
After transiting the strait, the warships entered the East China Sea, according to the ministry. Meanwhile, the Chinese defence ministry said that Russian and Chinese warships conducted the first joint patrol in the Pacific Ocean.
"The tasks of the joint patrolling were to demonstrate the state flags of Russia and China, maintain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region and also protect facilities of both countries' maritime economic activity. During the patrol, the group of warships passed through the Tsugaru Strait for the first time," the statement issued by the Russian Defence Ministry said.
The patrol was held right after China and Russia wrapped up a joint naval exercise in the Sea of Japan from October 14 to 17, Chinese state media tabloid Global Times reported.
The Russian defence ministry said that the vessels traversed the Sea of Japan as part of the patrol and practised joint tactical manoeuvring. Russia was represented by 10 ships of the Pacific Fleet, while five vessels took part in the patrol from the Chinese side. (ANI)