Continuing China’s preferred method of protesting against Japan’s ownership of the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, three Beijing patrol ships entered the waters around the territory on Tuesday morning, reported the Japan Coast Guard. While Japan’s nationalization of the islands took place in September of this year, escalating the tensions with China in the months that have followed, Beijing ships continue to routinely enter Japanese territorial waters without permission, usually at least several times a month.
The three ships were seen operating within 12 nautical miles of the islands at around 9:20 AM. Chinese vessels have already been ordered out of the East China Sea territory once this month, however this is the first time they have entered the area since an agreement was reached between Japan and Taiwan last week that allows the latter’s fishermen to continue fishing in nearby waters. The Senkaku Islands are also claimed by Taiwan, and there have been several skirmishes between the Japan Coast Guard and Taiwanese fishermen trying to sail to the islands in protest over. Taiwan has not been nearly as proactive as mainland China in challenging Japan’s control, with the country’s main concern appearing to be the continued operation of its valuable fishing industry.
The landmark deal between Tokyo and Taipei was not to the pleasure of Beijing. While some observers believe that it was Japan’s strategy to make an agreement with Taiwan in order to prevent the island nation from siding with mainland China in its sovereignty claims, Beijing says its anger is based on the violation of the “one-China” policy, and treating Taiwan as an independent country. In an apparent nose-thumbing at China’s displeasure, the Taiwanese coastguard followed up by stating that it would follow the rules of Japan’s agreement and “expel” any Chinese fishermen it finds within the Japanese exclusive economic waters.
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