Japan says Chinese coast guard ships made longest violation of its territorial waters in a decade

Japan The Coast Guard said Friday that Chinese vessels entered Japanese waters in the East China Sea early Tuesday and remained on watch for a Japanese fishing boat that was operating in the area before departing Thursday evening.
At some point on Thursday, one of the Chinese vessels came within 1.9 miles (3 km) of the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islandsknown in China as the Diaoyu Islands, far exceed the internationally recognized limit of 12 miles (19.3 km) that defines the country’s territorial waters, according to the Coast Guard.

The Japanese Coast Guard sent patrol ships to the area and demanded that Chinese ships immediately leave Japanese territorial waters, the report said.

Such intrusions are not uncommon in the disputed territory. Both Tokyo and Beijing claim the uninhabited islands as their own, but Japan has ruled them since 1972. Taiwan, which Beijing considers a Chinese province, also claims ownership of the islands.

Tensions around a rocky ridge 1,200 miles (1,900 km) southwest of Tokyo have intensified. brewed for generationswith claims about them dating back hundreds of years.

In response to a request for comment on the Japanese Coast Guard’s statement, China’s Foreign Ministry on Friday said “the Diaoyu Islands are part of Chinese territory” and accused Japanese fishing boats of “repeated incursions” into the area.

“This seriously violated China’s sovereignty. Chinese Coast Guard ships conducting law enforcement activities on the ground against right-wing Japanese fishing boats is a justified act of protecting our sovereignty. Japan has no right to make unfounded remarks, let alone interfere and obstruct,” it says.

The latest incursion was the longest time Chinese government ships have spent in waters since 2012, after Tokyo bought some of the islands from a private Japanese owner, the Japanese Coast Guard said.

Previously, the longest call was in October 2020, when the Chinese vessel lay idle for more than 57 hours.

The latest incident comes amid growing tensions between the two neighbors, especially as China looks wary of Japan’s relationship with the United States.

Last month, Tokyo hosted a summit of the increasingly active Quad Security Group, which includes Japan, the US, Australia and India. Beijing sees the group as part of a US effort to contain it.

Hours after the close of the summit, Chinese and Russian air forces conducted joint strategic air patrols over the Sea of ​​Japan, the East China Sea and the western Pacific Ocean, which China’s Ministry of Defense described as part of an annual military cooperation plan. .

Earlier this week, Japan’s defense ministry said it had discovered at least two Chinese warships and a supply ship in the Izu Islands, about 500 km south of Tokyo. One of these ships was the Lhasa, a Type 055 guided missile destroyer and one of China’s most powerful surface ships.

The ministry said the group has been operating in waters off Japan since June 12.