Japan's Defense Ministry said on Thursday that the Chief of Staff of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) will visit China again after five years and the destroyer Suzutsuki will be sent to participate in a multinational fleet review held in China.
Quoting the news report released by the Defense Ministry on the same day, Japan's Sankei Shimbun, a daily newspaper in Japan, reported that the JMSDF Chief of Staff Hiroshi Yamamura will visit Qingdao, Shandong Province, and participate in the multinational fleet review marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy from April 22 to 25.
In addition, the destroyer Suzutsuki of the JMSDF will also set sail on April 21 to take part in the fleet review. According to the report, this is the first time in five years that the JMSDF's Chief of Staff will visit China since the visit made by his predecessor Katsutoshi Kawano in April 2014. Also, it will be the first visit made by JMSDF's ships to China after seven and a half years.
Japan's Ministry of Defense said in last October that it “hopes to promote multi-level dialogue and exchanges between Japanese and Chinese defense departments, enhance mutual understanding and strengthen mutual trust.” In December 2018, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying also stressed that defense relations play an important role in China-Japan relations. “The year 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between China and Japan. The defense departments of both sides enhancing exchanges and communication is conducive to properly managing differences, strengthening security and mutual trust, and building a constructive bilateral security relationship, thus injecting positive energy into the sustained improvement and long-term, sound and steady development of China-Japan relations,” Hua said, “We welcome greater exchanges and communication between the defense departments of the two sides.”
The Suzutsuki destroyer is an Akizuki-class destroyer. It is a new advanced surface combat ship of JMSDF. Suzutsuki has a full displacement of 6,800 tons and is fitted with a state of art combat system with the Japanese-made FCS-3A active phased array radar. It is also known as the Japanese Aegis-class since its performance is close to the AN/SPY-1 phased array radar of the U.S. Aegis combat system. Its main weapon is the 32-unit U.S. MK-41 vertical weapon launching system capable of launching Sea Sparrow anti-aircraft missiles and rocket-assisted anti-submarine torpedoes.