Japan's participation, together with the U.S., in the CARAT exercises to be held in the Philippines island of Palawan was met with criticism by China's state news agency, Xinhua. The CARAT exercises began on Monday and are set to end on Friday and Saturday.
The naval exercises between the allied nations are conventionally seen as an opportunity to display the strength of Japan's cooperation with the Philippines. The exercises also serve to keep an eye on China's aggressive, controversial land reclamation in the Spratly Islands, reports The Japan Times.
Japan is sending about 20 personnel from the MSDF Kanoya Air Base in Kagoshima Prefecture in a P3-C Orion aircraft. The crew has landed in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan's capital, according to The Japan Times.
China, however, has not taken Japan's participation positively. China's state-run news agency, Xinhua, has published a scathing criticism of Japan's involvement, stating that Japan is simply "meddling" in the South China Sea conflicts.
"Tokyo's recent obsession to meddle in the South China Sea aims to press Beijing to divert resources from the East China Sea, where China-Japan tension over the Diaoyu Islands, which was started by Japan's nationalization of the islands, has been rising," Xinhua's criticism read.
The commentary further states that Japan's active involvement in the stand against China is but a diversion for Japan's lack of remorse over the atrocities it has committed during the Second World War, according to Xinhua News Agency.
"By muddying the waters in the South China Sea, Tokyo also aims to divert increasingly intensive global attention on Japan's lack of remorse over its atrocities during World War II (WWII), nearly 70 years after its surrender," the statement read.
Xinhua's statement ends with a demand that Japan abandon all attempts to stir waves in the South China Sea conflict, further stating that Japan's presence is not necessary, for China and the other claimants have already demonstrated the will to find a peaceful solution to the territorial dispute.