The Japan Coast Guard reported that they spotted four China Coast Guard vessels entering territorial waters near the disputed Senkaku Islands. This was the first time in eight days and the 66th intrusion since September of last year, when the Japanese government bought some parts of the islands from its private owner, earning protests from China who consider them their territory, calling them the Diaoyus.
The 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture said that the four ships were seen entering the 12 nautical mile territorial waters at around 3PM on Friday. They sent repeated warnings to the Chinese ships, and one of them responded by saying in both Chinese and Japanese that the islands belong to China, since the ancient times. According to China’s State Oceanic Administration, the CGC fleet, composed of ships identified as CCG 2151, 1126, 2146 and 2113 were patrolling the territorial waters, as it is part of their responsibilities. The CCG is responsible for the maritime law enforcement duties of four agencies: fisheries administration, maritime surveillance, customs enforcement and border control.
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said last week that Beijing was open to sitting down with Tokyo to discuss the strained relations between the two countries, as long as Japan acknowledges that there is a territorial dispute over the uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. Japan’s stand, while still pushing for talks between their leaders, has always been that there is no dispute, as acknowledging it gives legitimacy to China’s claims.
[ via Global Post ]