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China Ships Pass Via Strait North of Japan as Tensions Run High

Japan confirmed that Chinese ships passed through a strait just north of its territory for the first time, a possible show of force after Japan expressed concern that China is expanding its reach in the region.

Five Chinese naval vessels were spotted heading east through the Soya Strait north of Hokkaido Island on July 13, Japan’s Self-Defense Force said yesterday. It was the first time Japan had confirmed such a passage though Chinese ships may have passed through unnoticed before, Takashi Inoue, a spokesman for the Self-Defense Forces, said by phone.