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Japan to send MSDF destroyer to China for first time in seven years as Beijing marks naval anniversary

JIJI

The Maritime Self-Defense Force will send a destroyer to Qingdao, China — the first visit to the country by an MSDF vessel in seven years — amid thawing Sino-Japanese ties, Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya has announced.

The destroyer will visit from April 21 to 26, and will take part in an international fleet review on April 23 to mark the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the Chinese Navy, Iwaya said Friday.

The Japanese Defense Ministry is also considering participation by the MSDF chief of staff in the event.

It will be the first dispatch of an MSDF ship to China since the Kirisame destroyer made a port call at Qingdao in December 2011.

The latest decision to send the MSDF destroyer was based on a Japan-China agreement, reached at a summit meeting last October, to promote exchanges between the two countries’ defense authorities.

“Through the promotion of multilayered dialogue and exchanges, Japan wants to foster mutual understanding and confidence with China,” Iwaya said.