Japan’s Defence Ministry says 11 Chinese warships have been spotted in international waters off the country’s southern island of Okinawa.

No territorial violations were claimed by Japan, but the movements are sensitive because Japan and China have a dispute over small islands in the East China Sea.

The ministry on Thursday said the Chinese warships were monitored passing from the Pacific Ocean into the East China Sea.

Ministry spokesman Shuichi Fukuya said they were believed to be returning from target practice and refuelling exercises in waters about 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) south of Okinawa.

He said the Japanese military saw the Chinese warships heading out to the area on June 8 and 9.

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