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TOKYO, July 14 (Itar-Tass) - A convoy of over 20 Russian and Chinese warships sailed to the Sea of Okhotsk through the La Perouse Strait, between Sakhalin and the Japanese island Hokkaido, on Sunday morning. The warships did not enter the Japanese territorial waters, the Japanese Defence Ministry reported.
According to the Japanese Defence Ministry, the convoy included 16 warships of the Russian Navy - missile cruisers, destroyers and a logistic support vessel - and five Chinese warships, which were supposedly participating in the joint Russian-Chinese naval exercises Maritime Interaction-2013, which were held in Vladivostok on July 5-11.
The Japanese Defence Ministry noted that they continue gathering the information about the manoeuvres of the Russian-Chinese naval convoy. It is unclear now where the warships are sailing and with what purpose the joint convoy entered the Sea of Okhotsk.
The Japan Self-Defense Forces fixed for the first time the crossing of Chinese warships through the La Perouse Strait. Tokyo has growing concerns over a higher activity of the Chinese Navy and the cases of the Chinese warships approaching the territory of Japan. These concerns became stronger after the relations between the two countries had deteriorated sharply over an escalated territorial conflict around the Senkaku Islands (known as the Diaoyu Islands in Mainland China) in the East China Sea in the autumn of the previous year.