Chinese warship crew says ‘good morning’ to Japanese helicopter carrier sailors in South China Sea


The crew of a Chinese warship sent a friendly greeting to Japanese sailors aboard a helicopter carrier they encountered in the South China Sea recently in what analysts said was a further sign, albeit superficial, of the warming ties between the two Asian giants.

The incident happened late last month when China’s Luyang-II class guided-missile destroyer Lanzhou spotted the Japanese vessel Kaga, Japan’s state broadcaster NHK said on Friday.

On seeing the other ship, the crew of the Lanzhou sent a radio message saying, “Good morning, glad to see you”, the report said.

Beijing faces growing challenges to its South China Sea claims
The sentiment was in stark contrast to that of a message sent in August by the People’s Liberation Army – China’s military – to the crew of a US Navy P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance plane flying over the Spratly Islands in the disputed waterway, which said simply, “leave immediately”.

The Lanzhou is a Luyang-II class guided-missile destroyer. Photo: Handout
“The encounter implies that the overall warming in Sino-Japanese relations meant the two countries’ militaries could get along with each other,” said Song Zhongping, a military commentator for Hong Kong’s Phoenix Television.

“[But] the Chinese navy only sent the friendly message because the Japanese warship wasn’t in a sensitive area and was not being in any way provocative.”