The Japan Coast Guard has reported that three of China’s maritime surveillance ships have entered Japanese territorial waters near the disputed Senkaku / Diaoyu Islands. The entry took place around 7:00 AM on Monday, and was the latest in a number of such violations since September of last year. Chinese ships have also been seen in the areas just outside of Japan’s territory almost without respite since the tensions erupted over the uninhabited territory.
While the patrol ships promptly left the area only about 15 minutes after entering, this incident takes place among the increasing use of military fighter jets in the airspace over the islands. Since mid-December, a number of Chinese government aircraft have been seen heading towards the East China Sea territory, prompting Japan’s Self Defense Force to deploy jets in response. Over the last few weeks, however, China’s own military fighters have begun harassing the Japanese aircraft.
Monday’s territorial violation by the ships also comes one day after China’s Foreign Ministry issued a harsh condemnation for U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s comments on Friday that America would oppose any unilateral action against Japan’s administration of the Senkakus. Spokesman Qin Gang stated that the Chinese government advised the U.S. to act responsibly and keep China-U.S. relations in mind.[via The Standard]