Just hours after two Japanese activists made a brief landing on the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, the Japan Coast Guard has reported that 11 Chinese patrol ships have entered the waters surrounding the heavily disputed territory. This comes on the same day as widespread anti-Japanese protests have swept across China, and less than 24 hours after an armada of roughly 1,000 Chinese fishing boats departed for the islands on Monday. It’s not year clear if the government ships are acting in response to the two Japanese who swam to the island earlier today.
The Japan Coast Guard clarifies that none of the Chinese patrol ships have entered Japanese territorial waters, but they are encroaching on the contiguous zone, which is the only area before Japan’s waters, near the Senkaku Islands. Another Chinese ship entered the area on Tuesday morning, and was subsequently warned by the Japan Coast Guard, who say they are using radio and other means to patrol their territory. Before moving closer to a different island in the chain, the Chinese vessel responded that it was engaged in legitimate activities as the Diaoyu are China’s sovereign territory.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said that the two Japanese individuals who visited the disputed islands were from Japan’s southern island of Kyushu. They were said to have used a small boat to sail nearby, and then swam to shore. A spokesman for the coast guard says they left and were back in their boat shortly after their arrival.
[via Channel News Asia]