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International relations

China, Russia ships needle through Japan's southern chokepoint

In unprecedented provocation, two navies circle nation in less than a week

Osumi Peninsula and Tanegashima Island are both in Japan's Kagoshima Prefecture. (Google Maps) 

TOKYO -- Four days after passing through a maritime chokepoint in northern Japan, 10 Chinese and Russian warships have now sailed through a southern chokepoint, in effect circumnavigating the nation in an unprecedented provocative move. 

In a statement, Japanese Defense Ministry's Joint Staff said 10 vessels passed westward through the Osumi Strait between Osumi Peninsula and Tanegashima Island, both in the southern prefecture of Kagoshima, on Friday. Tokyo said this was the first time Chinese and Russian ships have jointly sailed through the Osumi Strait.

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