Japan Protests After Chinese Coastguards And Fishing Boats Sail Near Disputed Islets
- Japan Protests After Chinese Coastguards And Fishing Boats Sail Near Disputed Islets
Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka and Osamu Tsukimori; Additional reporting by Michael Martina in Beijing; Editing by Andrew Bolton, http://www.reuters.com/
Japan issued a new protest to Beijing on Saturday after Chinese coastguard ships and about 230 fishing vessels sailed close to what Tokyo considers its territorial waters around disputed islets in the East China Sea, Japan’s foreign ministry said.
The latest incident comes amid heightened tensions, less than a month after an arbitration court in The Hague invalidated China’s sweeping claims in the disputed South China Sea, in a case brought by the Philippines.
China has refused to recognize the ruling. Japan called on China to adhere to the verdict, which it said was binding, prompting warnings from Beijing to Tokyo not to interfere.
Three of the six Chinese coastguard ships that were in the so-called contiguous waters on Saturday appeared to be armed, Japan’s coastguard said.
On Friday, a Japanese foreign ministry official said Chinese coastguard ships and fishing vessels had entered what Tokyo considers its territorial waters around the islets.
Beijing claims the uninhabited, Tokyo-controlled East China Sea islands, called the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, and occasionally sends its coastguard vessels close to them.
A senior Japanese foreign ministry official on Saturday issued a protest to a Chinese embassy official in Tokyo, calling on the coastguard ships to leave the area immediately and condemning the action as a unilateral escalation of tensions, the ministry said.
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