In an incident that has played out almost every week for several months now, a set of three Chinese patrol ships have entered into Japan’s territorial waters surrounding the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. The Japanese Coast Guard reported seeing the ships enter the area just before 9:00 AM on Monday morning, following a similar intrusion on Friday. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has likewise taken familiar action, consisting primarily of filing a complaint through diplomatic channels and ordering the ships to leave at once.
While the dispute between China and Japan over the Tokyo-controlled islands had a brief respite last week amid North Korea’s detonation of a nuclear device, the week prior saw serious tensions over China’s latest aggressive act of using weapons-targeting radar on a Japanese military ship. The Beijing government denied the act, while Tokyo claimed it had evidence, with the U.S. supporting its ally. Observers have noted that the repeated entrance of Chinese patrol ships into Japanese waters seems to be an attempt to create a “new normal,” in other words a constant presence, that proves Japan does not have effective control over the area. This theory would certainly explain the latest territorial violations, and taking place so quickly after North Korea’s weapons test.
Tuesday will see Japan’s Foreign Ministry dispatch Shinsuke Sugiyama, of the Asian and Oceanian affairs, as an envoy to Beijing to meet with Wu Dawei, China’s special representative for Korean Peninsula affairs. It is also expected that Sugiyama will meet with Luo Zhaohui, chief of Asian affairs at the Chinese Foreign Ministry, in order to address Tokyo’s concerns over the radar incident.[via AFP]