Three ships from the Chinese coast guard were seen sailing near the disputed waters in the East China Sea near the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands on Monday. The incident happened days following Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s statement on an international forum likening the Sino-Japanese relationship to that of Britain and Germany before the First World War.
The ships were found to have entered the territorial waters around 9 a.m. near one of the Senkaku islands, a source of dispute between the two Asian powers. They stayed within the waters for around two hours, according to the Japanese Coast Guard. This is the second time Chinese vessels have intruded within Japanese territories this year. The Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Okinawa Prefecture however, noted that it is the 76th time since the central government acquired three of the five islands from a Japanese private owner in September 2012.
Japanese Coast Guard members notified the Chinese vessels and asked them to leave but one of the men answered in Japanese and Chinese that the “Diaoyu” islands is part of China and so they are not in violation of any laws. Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Head, Junichi Ihara has already filed a protest with Chinese Embassy Minister Han Zhiqiang. Ihara has called Zhigiang, who is in Tokyo, to relay the incident. This is just another incident in a long line of occurrences over the past years that has worsened ties between the East Asian countries.